Brothers of 'starved' Israeli boy are sent to live in UK

By Marcus Dysch and Anshel Pfeffer, November 26, 2009
Follow Marcus on Twitter
The mother (middle) who allegedly mistreated her son, in court last month

The mother (middle) who allegedly mistreated her son, in court last month

Three brothers of a boy allegedly starved by his mother in Jerusalem have moved to England, and are now living with their grandparents in London’s strictly Orthodox community.

The boys, aged nine, seven and five, arrived in Stamford Hill last Thursday, the same day their mother gave birth to her sixth child, also a boy.

It is believed they were accompanied on the jouraney by a rabbi from the strictly-Orthodox Edah Charedit faction and that they were sent on the express orders of Rabbi David Kahan, the spiritual leader of the Toldot Aharon Chasidic group to which the family belongs.

The Israeli authorities had not been informed prior to their departure and they are not expected to return to Israel.

Their British grandmother said the boys would be joined by their parents and siblings when legal proceedings against the mother are concluded.

The grandmother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “Three of the children are here. My husband and I will look after them.

“Hopefully they will go to school here. We have not made proper arrangements yet. The boys are having a very comfortable time here. In Israel they had a very hard time. They were traumatised there.

“We have done nothing about the paperwork yet; we take every day as it comes. Their father is British so I can make them British the minute I want.”

The boys’ Israeli mother was arrested on suspicion of neglect in July. It is thought she was suffering from Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy, which leads a person to injure another deliberately in order to gain attention.

Hospital cameras filmed her removing the three-year-old’s feeding tube while he received treatment for severe malnutrition.

Her arrest sparked rioting by some of Jerusalem’s strictly-Orthodox factions.

Her husband, a scribe, moved to Israel from London 10 years ago. The couple are both in their 30s.

This week, state prosecutors claimed that the mother had broken the terms of her house arrest by not bringing her children for routine medical inspections but District Judge Moshe Ravid ruled that the mother could not have brought the children last week as she was in hospital giving birth to a son.

Judge Ravid also ruled that the separation of the children from their mother was for the children’s benefit and denied the prosecution’s motion for a stricter house arrest order.

The grandmother said that the allegedly starved boy, who weighed just 14lb when he was admitted to hospital, is now “fine, he is in school, he’s doing very well”.

He is being cared for by relatives in Israel and there are strict restrictions on when his mother is allowed to visit him.

Because they are under the age of 18, the children who are now in London would be allowed to live legally in Britain if their father moved back here. They can enter the country and live without a visa for up to six months.

In August their grandmother said the family intended to “run to Stamford Hill” and live on benefits and donations from members of the community.

Around £7,000 was collected at that time in local synagogues, but the grandmother predicted a further £30,000 would be needed to provide long-term care for the entire family.

    Last updated: 4:42pm, November 26 2009