Losing a Battle to Win the War

Tali Libman
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Tali Libman

My first meeting with them took place in a Haifa Magistrate's Court in mid-march when they were brought to have their remand extended after being arrested. There was nothing to indicate what was about to happen.

In the time that it took for the judge to enter the courtroom, members of the media who were present there, including this reporter, posed questions to the two about the allegations that they had attacked a 14-year-old boy in the Hadar neighborhood of the city. Their response was unexpected. Oren Korido slapped me hard in the face in front of all my colleagues and everyone else in the courtroom.

It was humiliating. Extremely humiliating. The feeling did not leave me all night nor in the following days. But it made me realize just how aggressive the brothers could be when they came across minors.

As Oren later explained: "This war against ourselves is an almost daily occurrence. I have difficulty even explaining how it finds expression. You walk down the street and suddenly you get a kind of a flash, and that's what happens. In a second, a person becomes something else."

And indeed, in the next court session when they were released for lack of evidence, Oren Korido turned to me immediately and told me he was sorry he had slapped me. He said he was under tremendous pressure and he had not meant to hurt me.

I looked at him and thought that no one needs to be a victim of aggression. I decided to do something.

When they left the prison, I accompanied them to their apartment on Herzl Street. I was shocked. The apartment was not fit for an animal. Everything was filthy, messy and foul-smelling, crawling with roaches. During the week that followed, the entire period of their house arrest, I came to the apartment almost every day.

I brought them food from soup kitchens, and sometimes I bought them a pizza or a sandwich. They told me over and over how much they wanted to go back to the straight and narrow and live a normal life.

On the last day of their house arrest I came to the apartment and found them sleeping. I woke them up.

"From now on, you're free," I said. "One more time and you'll be in jail. If you're ready for treatment, I'm with you all the way. If you're not, you're on your own. Go for chemical castration."

They agreed immediately. But at that stage neither they nor I knew what difficulties we would be facing until the injection would be available. The campaign was carried out in full collaboration with Inbar Dotan, who has a program called "Ima Atzbanit" (Nervous Mom) on Haifa Radio, which helps people overcome bureaucratic problems with the authorities.

She followed the conduct of all the relevant bodies we had to work through to start the treatment. Even on the merely technical level, either I or the program staff had to do everything. For example, we had to make all the phone calls because the brothers did not have a telephone and none of us had any idea how to get the process rolling.

We began with a visit to the family physician. He said he did not know anything about such treatment and recommended that the brothers first undergo routine blood tests. The brothers did not show up for their appointment for the tests and I once again made my way to their house to see what had happened. I found them both fast asleep. I set another appointment. Ten days later, the results of the blood tests arrived and showed that the two were in sound health. When I asked that the process be continued, the doctor said he couldn't perform that kind of treatment without the approval of a psychiatrist. The radio program helped us find a psychiatrist who had treated a friend of the brothers', also a pedophile, when he was in jail, and who knew the brothers from their previous jail terms.

Since he knew them, the psychiatrist agreed to fax their health maintenance organization saying he was acquainted with them and was aware of their situation and that chemical castration was an acceptable treatment for cases like theirs. Now we had to get approval from the Health Ministry, but when we approached them we were told it was impossible to begin treatment before proving that they were indeed pedophiles.

An appointment was made for the brothers with an endocrinology clinic in Haifa where they signed a document showing they were interested in the treatment and that they understood the possible side effects.

"We saw a doctor who explained to us the implications of the treatment. We said we agreed to it and we signed a form. We are ready for anything just so that we can finish this story once and for all," Oren said. "We want to put an end to this. We don't want to go to jail and we don't want to harm any minor."

On May 19, the brothers started their treatment at the Clalit HMO's clinic in the Hadar quarter of Haifa. Over the next few years, they will have to get an injection once every month.

"We have begun the war against ourselves," Oren told the gathered press at the scene. "We are glad to come here to the clinic and we don't plan to give up in this war. This is a happy time when we get the first of our long-awaited injections."

Shlomi and Oren, both of whom have served two prison terms, said that it was difficult for them to constantly be considered suspects when a minor was assaulted and that was why they had decided to undergo the procedure.

"We know what it involves," Shlomi said. "It is important to us that no minor should be hurt. We don't want people to say any more that we harm minors and we don't want anyone's life to be destroyed."

He added, "You become like a ticking bomb. It comes as a surprise and then it can lead to hurting a child. We wavered for years; we were afraid of the consequences of the treatment. Now we have arrived here wholeheartedly."

I was standing next to the brothers as they spoke, and I whispered: "I hope so."

At the moment, there's no guarantee they will return for their treatments. I don't know how it will affect each of them and how they will deal with the side effects.

Social services don't have enough staff to oversee them. They live in a neighborhood full of kids, but no one knows where they wander around, and nobody follows up.

Three weeks ago they moved to a new apartment, a better situation, after we approached the city and the landlord offered them an alternative. The new apartment has a phone and they call me five or six times a day to let me know they're going out, and they don't do anything without asking me. Now we're trying to find them jobs, in the hope that now that they're in treatment people will look at them differently.

Watching over them is like giving a hand to a child just learning to walk, and I hope that sometime they'll be able to walk alone.

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