Israeli social workers declare war on children’s rights journalist
Marianne Azizi writes:
On 9 June in the city of Kiryat Shmona there was a civil court case: Teresa Mordechai vs Moti Leybel.
Last month Mr Leybel staged a four-minute protest outside the home of a social worker, Teresa Mordechai, against her decision to remove a baby from her mother within 48 hours of being born.
Following the protest, the social workers made a U turn and arranged for the mother and her baby to be reunited.
It is legal in Israel to protest outside the home of a public official. Yet, in the case of social workers it is not without consequence. In the real world, getting a child back should be cause for celebration, but journalist and children’s rights activist Moti Leybel was to pay a high price. He was detained by the police for over 24 hours. And last week, after stating on social media his intention to protest, they filed a new charge against him.
At the court hearing on 9 June Mr Leybel was ordered to stay away from Ms Mordechai’s home – which was fine with him as he demonstrates at an official’s home only once – and to come no closer than 200 metres from her. This would include any train journey and would mean that, if he passes her on any street in Israel, he would be expected to run away from her or in be in breach of the court order.
The same restriction, however, does not apply to Ms Mordechai, which means she could deliberately get within 200 metres of him and then complain to the police – this is how it works in Israel. He is not allowed to write anything with her name on it unless it is positive. This is obviously subjective and can be interpreted in any way by the courts.
Public officials should be servants, not masters. Their behaviour should be beyond reproach and they should be subject to scrutiny by the public they serve. Many people have expressed concern at Ms Mordechai’s dubious practice of taking children from their parents without good reason. She is also reported as telling the mother whose baby she took after 48 hours of being born that she would chase her to the end of the world to take any children she would have.
The law in Israel, cited by the Israeli authorities in their report to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), says that no mother can be forced to give up her child within seven days of childbirth, yet the social worker removed the child within hours against the mother’s will.
Despite Israeli Channel 10 TV showing stories of children suffering in institutions, the ability of Mr Leybel to expose abuses is slowly being eroded through his being excluded from town after town in Israel.
Mr Leybel was prevented from giving the results of his investigations, but I am not. He is being gagged while the kidnapping of children and the abuse of parents continues. Social workers in Israel appear to have complete immunity and the power to curtail freedom of speech. This freedom is dying by the day, with a nod from the state.
While the judge at the 9 June hearing affirmed that Mr Leybel has a legal right to protest, he still sided with the social worker.
Here is the short video that has prompted the Israeli social services to celebrate their increasing power over any public objection.
It is wonderful that a baby was saved and has been reunited with her mother. But as Israel hides behind other political issues and people elsewhere in the world are able to exercise their right to peaceful protest, those in Israel who dare to speak for the abused children and parents are facing the prospect of having their lives destroyed for standing up for their principles.