The lucrative business of child abuse in Israel
Marianne Azizi writes:
Activists who protest, blog and write about Israel’s Ministry of Welfare and Social Services have faced investigations, arrests and prosecutions.
They are a small voice screaming loudly that the children of Israel are in danger – from their own government.
This week the topic finally made mainstream news, with a report broadcast by Israeli Channel 10 TV in prime time – and the reporters got a taste of the treatment usually meted out to activists by official involved in the child business.
The officials threatened to call the police, despite the fact that filming was taking place in a public area; they filed a complaint and refused even to listen to the reporter.
In the report, one young woman returns from Turkey to face her past and visit the institution in which she spent time against her will. She is one of thousands wrenched from their parents – a staggering 10,000 a year.
As lawyers continue to fight, experts in the field, such as Yossi Silman, admit huge mistakes are being made.
One example is the emergency centres. These are places children are taken to when they are first removed from home.
The law states that a child cannot be held for more than three months, yet Silman admits that over 60 per cent of children are held for much longer, and after three months the damage is already done to the child.
Moreover, in divorce cases children can be used as pawns, often resulting in the child eventually being stolen by the social workers.
In the emergency centre, drugs are administered to children as young as three and without parental consent.
The Welfare and Social Services Ministry often cites danger to the child as the reason for taking it away from its parents and against their will.
This is nonsense, especially when some children are taken away while others are allowed to remain with their parents. If a parent is so dangerous, would it not make more sense to remove all children from the home immediately?
Not so. In fact, parents are controlled by the threat of losing their kids one by one. Once a child enters the system, it may be allowed to make have home visits, often unsupervised.
It is well known the social workers can take a child away from its parents merely on hearsay, not evidence. It is also known that judges rubber stamp the papers from social workers, so a child can be removed without checks or due process.
In the Channel 10 report, one psychiatrist discusses how reports are ignored and children are not returned to parents, against the advice of professionals.
Currently, one mother has been camped in the street in Jerusalem campaigning for the return of her son, who was taken away from her on the strength of a false report. The psychiatrist in question never met the child, yet authorised the child’s removal anyway.
Climate of fear
Many articles have been written and the evidence pointing to the need for reforming the Welfare and Social Services Ministry is overwhelming.
Yet, why are people not marching in the streets to demand the return of their children? Why do they passively accept such abuse?
The Welfare and Social Services Ministry works in a systematic way and in coordination with the police.
People are afraid. The ministry wields massive powers. There are no independent ombudsmen for the people to approach, and public officials cannot be investigated or challenged.
The insidious way they work means a parent becomes numbed by events and has no due process to work with.
There is often no pattern to how children are removed. Sometimes it is on the basis of a rumour, perhaps spread by a disgruntled ex-partner or neighbour. At other times a family is “marked” and becomes a permanent target for social workers.
Protests of more than three people require police permission. Any application to protest against the Welfare and Social Services Ministry is likely to be refused.
…until the social media activism gets fully into the mainstream media, thousands of families will be heading for destruction and permanent ruin.
The practices of the social workers go against all the requirements stipulated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The lack of reason behind social workers separating children from their parents and siblings on the grounds of unproven risks is a tragedy in Israeli society.
The Welfare and Social Services Ministry does not have measures in place to help families suffering financial hardship – its first response is to remove children from heir parents, thereby causing untold damage.
With poverty at almost 40 per cent in Israel, it is no surprise that Silman claims one third of a million children are at risk. But signing a hardship – or ‘’needy” – warrant to get help really means one’s children can be taken away by the state. It is no wonder people do not consider the ministry a safe place to turn to.
The world remains silent and, until the social media activism gets fully into the mainstream media, thousands of families will be heading for destruction and permanent ruin.
People are turning to the UN for help but, unfortunately, Israel has not signed any treaties that would allow help to be given. So, instead, they are preparing to file lawsuits in the USA.
It can happen to anyone in Israel – rich or poor – but the main victims are the poor who are sometimes driven to suicide, deprived of their children and fearing the very organisations they should be turning to for support.