Father of murdered Jerusalem children arrives for funerals

Mother, who remains in serious condition after suicide attempt, was scheduled to meet with municipal welfare workers two hours after allegedly killing son, daughter.

Magen David Adom paramedics 370 (photo credit: Magen David Adom spokesman)
Magen David Adom paramedics 370
(photo credit: Magen David Adom spokesman)
As the Russian father of the two children who were brutally murdered Monday morning in Jerusalem arrived from Moscow to bury his children, further details emerged about the background and tenuous mental state of the woman accused of the tragedy.
The recently divorced, unidentified 39-year-old mother – who made aliya from Moscow last year and lived in a modest third-floor apartment on Ein Gedi Street in Talpiot – allegedly stabbed her seven-year-old son and five-year-old daughter to death in their sleep at approximately 7 a.m.
She then attempted to take her own life by slitting her throat and repeatedly stabbing herself, but her sister, who was living with the family, intervened. Shortly after police were notified by a neighbor, the mother was rushed to Hadassah University Hospital in critical condition.
Following emergency surgery, she was upgraded to stable-but-serious condition, police said Tuesday.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the children’s corpses would remain in an autopsy unit at Hadassah University Hospital until the father arrived to identify the bodies and decide on burial arrangements.
The father was reportedly informed of the murders by a Russian ZAKA rescue worker, who was accompanied by a psychologist and medic, Yediot Aharonot reported Tuesday. After learning of the tragedy, the father wept and said “I knew it would happen,” the paper claimed.
According to Bonnie Goldberg, director of the Jerusalem Municipality’s welfare department, welfare services had initially met with the mother on August 24th after another parent saw one of her children with a suspicious bruise while at an area summer camp.
Following the meeting, a Russian-speaking psychologist was assigned to counsel the woman, whom Goldberg described as cooperative.
However, a day before the murders, welfare services received an anonymous call from someone close to the woman, warning them about her fragile emotional state, Goldberg told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday.
The department immediately contacted the mother and scheduled a meeting for the following morning at 9 a.m., two hours after the children were killed while sleeping in their shared bedroom.
“We really didn’t know,” Goldberg said Tuesday of the severity of the situation. “It’s not exact science – it’s very difficult to assess.”
“There were no signs, no indication that she was going to do this,” Goldberg added.
“When we met her, we met a woman with skills, with abilities.”
Indeed, according to Yediot Aharonot, the mother was an accomplished, classically trained musician, who decided to make aliya last year after becoming more religious. Her husband, a well-known jazz musician in Moscow, reportedly did not want to make the move, so the couple divorced shortly before she left with her children in February of last year.
Due to a gag order, few other details have surfaced regarding the woman’s background, murder and its ongoing investigation.
The children’s father arrived at Ben-Gurion International airport on Tuesday evening. According to Rosenfeld, it remains unclear when and where the children will be buried.
Following the murder, Goldberg said she scheduled a meeting with the welfare department’s staff for next week to discuss the case, and called on the public to report any suspicious treatment of children they encounter.
Danielle Ziri contributed to this report.