I changed the title; the article is a transcript of the interrogation and was leaked to Maariv. The hyper-modest mother of 12 is in jail after being indicted for child abuse. Introduction is here. Part II.
By Shmuel Mittelman and Ami ben David.
The detailed statements of the mother in her interrogation, exposed here for the first time, shed light not only on her allegedly twisted relationship with her children, but allow a glimpse into her fanatically religious world that combines a strange blend of violence and incessant prayer.
B., 54, became famous as the “mother from Beit Shemesh” or the “black mother” because of the black clothes covering her entire body, hair and face. According to the police and prosecution, she shockingly abused six of her twelve children, leaving them physically and emotionally scarred until today.
The indictment served against her in the
She hit six of her children and didn’t prevent incest
The event leading to the opening of the investigation happened in early February after, according to the police allegation, B. locked her small son D, who suffers from a mental handicap, in the yard of her Bet Shemesh home for many hours, wearing short clothes, and withheld food and drink from him for many hours despite his screams. The neighbors called the police, who arrived with social workers. The social workers removed the child from the house and placed him in a dormitory [this usually refers to an institution that cares for children in something similar to a home setting].
During the initial investigation the mother assured he police: “You took him on the basis of lies that you invented and believe. My prayers do not return empty-handed, and whoever took the child will pay dearly for it.”
During the investigation the mother was accused of hitting six of her children with a belt, a stick, a rolling pin, and an electric cable, and of cutting the hair of two of her girls as a punishment. In one case she extinguished a match on the chest of one of the children, and regularly poured water on several children to wake them in the morning. In a few instances she refused to allow the children to come home, and they had to eat at friends and neighbors. Similarly, the mother is accused of tying the child D., who suffers from a handicap, by his hands and legs and leaving him outside for a long time.
The judge had to be satisfied with a photo
The police investigators didn’t know how to relate to B. She wrapped herself in no fewer than 12 dresses in the height of the heat, and covered her face with a veil. The prison doctor asked to check her, but she refused to undress. Interrogation by men? Absolutely not, she indicated. I won’t expose my face to a strange man.
Similarly in the courtroom, during the extension of her remand, she refused to allow Judge Aaron Farkash to look at her. “But to hold a deliberation, I must see the person opposite me,” he explained to her lawyer, Vered Berger of public defense. “It won’t help, Your Honor, she is not prepared to expose her face,” she replied, “even if everyone but you leaves the room.” With no choice, in a rare move, the judge was presented with a picture of B’s face as photographed by the prison service, to let him know who the anonymous woman is.
The police sent an experienced investigator, Hagit Nosri, who did her best to extract answers to the serious suspicions. In a[nother] rare move the interrogation was carried out with the mother writing her answers by hand and passing them to the investigator.
She denied most of the accusations, admitted to a few, tried to justify some of them, rebuked her listeners, showed pride in the strength of her prayers and her mission, and outlined her “educational” philosophy. In one of the conflicts between them [B] even reprimanded the female officer for “wearing very tight shirts, and that’s not okay (zeh lo beseder).”
The door is locked after midnight
The transcripts of the interrogation expose a woman with a zealous religious faith, who cares for a variety of children, each with his or her own problems and went through a crisis after difficult pregnancies. Under these circumstances, presumably, she lost control over the children, was beset by attacks of rage, and latched on to twisted methods of powerful punishments and violence in order to try and return order and display authority.
At the beginning of the interrogation the investigator asked B for her reaction to the accusations, that she and her husband regularly hit the children, prevented them from eating and sleeping at home, and knew about the sexual transgressions that occurred among the children. The mother replied angrily: “The charges are a cruel lie. They never existed. You have no proof. Every mother can give a slap from time to time for educational purposes.”
The mother also related to claims that she prevented her children from returning home at night. “I prevented the children from sleeping at home a few times, after they came home from the soccer field at
[I once heard singer Yehoram Gaon tell a similar story on his radio program. He once returned five minutes late for his midnight curfew and found the door locked. He learned his lesson. The difference is the context (and the age of the children involved); did the parents employ this extreme measure as a way of teaching responsibility in an overall loving environment, or is it part of a series of punitive measures meant to instill fear and demand absolute authority?]