Couple Says 3-week-old Baby Was Dropped, Not Thrown

A women suspected of trying to murder her baby last Thursday in a Safed hospital says the three-week-old infant slipped from her arms.

The woman, 28, allegedly hurled the infant onto the floor during an argument with her husband at the Ziv Medical Center, where the baby had been hospitalized a few days earlier.

The baby was moved to Haifa's Rambam Medical Center before dawn on Friday in critical condition, suffering from severe head injuries.

Later that day the woman told the Nazareth Magistrate's Court, where the police asked that her remand be extended, that she had stayed by her baby's bed for three days, during which time he had a high fever.

"I saw how much he was suffering when they tried to take blood from him for tests and I begged them to help him. I could never hurt him," she said.

The woman and her husband - who belong to the Bratslav Hasidic community in Hatzor Haglilit - have two older children, a 3-year-old and an 18-month-old. The husband, 30, apparently left home some two months ago. Shortly before the incident with the baby, he went to the hospital with the other two children for a visit.

The woman said she asked her husband to leave the children's ward because their kids were making noise.

"She says she was holding both the baby and 18-month old in her arms when she lost her balance on the stairs and the baby slipped from her arms and fell," her lawyer Guy Ashkenazi said.

The husband backs up his wife's story. He said that when they left the children's ward the 3-year-old ran down the stairs. As they hurried after him the baby slipped out of the woman's arms.

"The boy slipped from the woman's grasp, it wasn't deliberate or planned," his lawyer Avshalom Duek said.

The woman will undergo psychiatric observation today at her attorney's request. "We want to show that she is sane, so they don't try to claim anything different in the future," Ashkenazi said.

"The woman gave birth just three weeks ago. All her rights have been violated, she is being held in unhygienic conditions and she bled in the cell," he said.

The judge said he was not pleased with the woman's detention conditions. Police added that the husband used to beat the woman, but she did not file any complaints against him because he agreed to get treatment. He is suspected of giving a false confession, conspiracy to commit a crime and attacking his wife.