Boy must be transferred from Hadassah
Etgar Lefkovits and JPost.com staff
A day after a senior Hadassah Medical Organization official received telephone death threats over the case of the haredi mother suspected of starving her three-year-old son, sources close to the woman said on Monday that tensions would be eased if the boy were hospitalized in a different medical institution.
Rabbi Avraham Froelich, a prominent haredi lobbyist who posted the bail of the Toldot Aharon woman, said on Monday that transferring the boy from Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital to a different hospital would ease tensions between the haredi community and state authorities.
If her son were hospitalized at a different institution, the mother, believed to be mentally ill, "will cooperate with the psychiatrist and undergo a psychiatric evaluation," Froelich said in an interview with Army Radio.
Meanwhile, police were taking the threats to Dr. Yair Birnbaum, deputy director-general Hadassah Medical Organization, extremely seriously, and security guards were protecting the doctor.
Police tightened security surrounding Birnbaum's home on Monday.
The hospital declined to comment on the death threats, merely stating that since his mother's arrest, the boy's condition had continued to improve and he had continued to gain weight.
On Sunday, the suspected child abuser skipped a pre-scheduled psychiatric evaluation, police said.
The move represented a dramatic setback to a court-brokered agreement reached last week between the police and lawyers for the woman which, police said, could see the accord unravel.
The evaluation, which is supposed to help determine whether the woman is fit to stand trial, was a key condition in her release from detention on Friday, when she was placed under house arrest at Froelich's home.
The woman cited ill health as the reason for canceling the meeting with the psychiatrist, Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said. He added that the evaluation was now tentatively scheduled to take place on Monday.
An emergency Jerusalem court hearing late Sunday to discuss the woman's breach of the accord was postponed until Monday afternoon after the lobbyist, Froelich, failed to show up for the session himself, the police said.
It later emerged that he was meeting with the rabbinical leader of the Eda Haredit organization, which had organized days of violent protests in the capital against the woman's arrest.
The group was set to issue a decree late Sunday night as to whether the woman could undergo the examination.
Meanwhile, Jerusalem police said Sunday that they would not immediately release footage caught by the hospital's surveillance cameras showing the woman removing her child's feeding tubes during a previous hospitalization period.
The footage is a key piece of evidence in the case.
"The video is part of the investigative material in the case, and has been transferred to the State Prosecution's office," Jerusalem Police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said.
It was not immediately clear Sunday why police would not release the footage right away, given the denials of any wrongdoing on the mother's part voiced by the extremist haredi sect to which she belongs.
The woman, a resident of the city's Mea She'arim neighborhood who is a member of the Toldot Aharon community, is suspected of severely abusing her child for the past two years, until a point where he weighed a mere seven kilograms at age three.
Separately, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat on Sunday asked the city attorney to pursue civil suits against rioters documented by police as having vandalized city property.
The city said that the rioters caused a total of NIS 1 million in property damage.