|Ten Hurt in Haredi Riots
16 July 2009
JERUSALEM, Israel - Ten people were hurt on Thursday, most of them municipality employees, in a third day of rioting by Haredi Jews in Jerusalem. A Border Policeman and a municipal police officer were lightly injured.
Police evacuated employees of a welfare office in the ultra-Orthodox Geula neighborhood after rioters threw rocks at the building.
Police, who used horses and hoses to control the violent mob, arrested 28 protesters.
Over the past few days, demonstrators blocked traffic, threw burning tires on the road, pelted police with rocks, and set fire to trash bins.
The Hassidim are protesting the arrest of a 30-year-old woman suspected of starving a toddler over the past two years until he weighed only seven kilos (about 15 pounds).
The mother and her husband, who is a full-time student at a yeshiva (Torah seminary), have five children and she is pregnant with a sixth.
Mayor Suspends Services
On Wednesday, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat suspended municipal services in Mea Shearim, saying that services would be resumed when municipal employees were no longer in jeopardy.
Barkat estimated that rioters had caused hundreds of thousands of shekels in property damage. In two days, 50 trash dumpsters were set on fire, and two municipal vehicles damaged.
On Wednesday, riots spread to Haredi neighborhoods in Beit Shemesh, a city about half way between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Meanwhile, a gag order on the abuse case was lifted and some of the details published.
Over a two-year period, the toddler was hospitalized and evaluated seven times until doctors concluded they were dealing with abuse and neglect, not illness.
Police have suggested that the woman is suffering from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a mental disorder occuring most often with mothers and toddlers, in which the mother abuses the child and then tries to cover up her behavior.
Doctors are hopeful that the child will make a physical comeback, but the effects of abuse on his mental and emotional health are less certain.
Since his most latest hospitalization in Hadassah Ein Kerem, he has gained 1.7 kilos (nearly four pounds) a 20 percent increase of his body weight.
Sources: The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz
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