Mother in abuse scandal beat her children 'to make them righteous'
Police released the transcripted testimony of the Jerusalem mother of eight indicted for abusing her children under the influence of spiritual leader Elior Chen.
The 39-year-old woman, named only as M., has turned state witness against Chen, under a plea bargain agreement.
"I frequently thought that this is how it must have been during the Holocaust, that this is how they treated people," the mother told investigators in February. She even compared Chen to Hitler.
However, she said repeatedly that she believed the abuse would make her children righteous, claiming, "I'm a naive woman. I pretty much believe anything."
According to the original indictment, the mother, Chen and four others abused the children for years. They beat the woman's 3-year-old son, causing brain hemorrhaging that has left him comatose for the past year. Another son was locked in a trunk with a kippa gagging his mouth for three days, and his feet were pressed against a space heater, causing second- and third-degree burns. The children were bound with handcuffs and ropes, their fingers were burned with a cigarette lighter and they were forced to eat feces and drink from the toilet.
Escape to Brazil
The case came to light after the 3-year-old was hospitalized. The mother was indicted, while Chen escaped to Brazil. He is currently in custody there pending extradition.
The mother originally defended him, but eventually agreed to testify against him under a plea bargain. Under the deal, the mother will be jailed for five years on reduced abuse charges.
The mother told police that Chen and his followers abused her children in order to "correct" them.
In the name of "corrections," one of her younger sons was forced to drink arak liquor until he lost consciousness.
"The boy kept vomiting, and I changed his clothes and I was really worried ... he was very small after all," the testimony reads. "I felt sorry for him but I told myself, be strong, be strong, [Chen] is only trying to help him, to make him a good boy."
She also said the children were beaten and slapped for hours, and added that she was not allowed to hug them. "I wouldn't even want to hug them, so that they don't get beat up again, so that they don't get any of my pity, which was a foul pity," she told investigators.
On another occasion, one of her children was tied up and stuffed into a suitcase that was shoved under a bed. "I didn't see him for an entire day, and when I found him, he was tied up in a ball, like a chicken ... they stuffed a kippa in his mouth so that he couldn't shout."
The woman repeatedly stated that she believed the violence was for the benefit of her children.