A Turkish-Jewish family in Israel has been fighting a legal battle to reunite with their baby who was taken away nine months ago by Israeli authorities over alleged child abuse, Anadolu News Agency reports.
Father SG, who holds both Turkish and Israeli citizenship, and his Israeli-Brazilian wife, DG, 21, took their one-month-old baby last May to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in West Jerusalem for treatment of cerebral haemorrhage, the second-leading cause of stroke.
After preliminary examination, hospital and welfare officials filed a police complaint against the parents suspecting the baby was subjected to “excessive shaking or violence”.
Hospital staff concluded in their tests that the baby did not have a genetic disease but he said abuse by parents.
As a result, Israeli police detained the parents.
The father spent 10 days in prison and 20 under house arrest, while the mother was also given four days of house arrest.
Family accuses hospital staff of negligence
The family blamed hospital staff for negligence quoting numerous tests conducted in the US and Israel which concluded that cerebral haemorrhage in the baby was not a result of any parental abuse, but a congenital and rare disease.
“Normally, hospitals have to investigate whether anything of this kind is due to abuse, but they decided very quickly,” YG, the grandmother of the infant, told Anadolu.
“At the first stage, they diagnosed the baby with ‘shaken baby syndrome’ without necessary tomography scan and reported it to the police on suspicion of abuse,” she added.
Shaken Baby Syndrome is a condition that occurs from violently shaking an infant by the shoulders, arms or legs. It may cause serious health issues such as intracranial haemorrhage and brain damage in the baby.
She went on to say that every parent can be doubted, “but it is unacceptable to make this diagnosis without a tomography”.
The family submitted the test results by US and Israeli laboratories to the court last November.
On 6 December, the judge decided to give the baby to the grandmother, ruling that the mother could stay with the baby.
According to the baby’s grandmother, the judge wanted to give the baby to the parents, but the Social Services objected to the court’s decision.
Finally, after the case appeared in the local media two weeks ago, the court decided that the baby should stay with his mother’s sister.
The grieving father, SG, who was born and raised in Israel, told Anadolu, “They take you and throw you in jail. Your baby is in the hospital and you don’t know what happened to your baby. No one is telling you about your baby’s condition. They just say, ‘You did it, you’re not a good father’, they blame you. This is terrible …”
The father said the Israeli authorities made him take a lie detector test.
“Let us have our child back. It turned out that our baby has a (genetic) disease. A specialist Professor in the US, to whom we applied, and the best doctors in this field, revealed that the child had this disease,” he said.
The grandmother and father stated that they would “definitely” file a compensation case against the Social Services officials after they got the baby back.
The grieving mother said: “We were very afraid that our baby would die. Then they came and began blaming us, saying that we did it. It was a horrible feeling.”
Bursting into tears, she told Anadolu: “(Hopefully) our baby will be with us as soon as possible. But every time our baby is not with us, every single day, she destroys us.”
Regarding the family’s address, the Hadassah Hospital and Welfare and Social Services Ministry told Anadolu the matter is sub-judice.
Hadar Elboim, spokesperson for Hadassah, one of the largest university hospitals in Israel, said: “A multi-disciplinary child protection team works within the hospital, which investigates cases where there is a suspicion of harming children and vulnerable individuals.”
The spokesperson of the Welfare and Social Services Ministry declined to comment.
Verda Steinberg, the family’s lawyer, told Anadolu that the case will be heard again at the end of this month.
Steinberg pointed out that, this time, the hearing will be held with the participation of doctors for the first time, saying that it is in favour of the family.
The Social Services Institution has done an indescribable injustice to the family, Steinberg added.
Meanwhile, the Work, Welfare and Health Commission in the Israeli Parliament gathered the parties involved in the case to discuss the issue.
The majority of the deputies and attending the meeting took the side of the family, stressing that all available findings prove the baby has a genetic disease.
Also, friends and relatives of the family gathered in front of the Knesset, Israeli parliament, to hold a demonstration.