Daughter Backs Mom Charged With Abusing Her 12 Children

The adult daughter of a 54-year-old Ramat Beit Shemesh woman on trial for abusing her 12 children said yesterday that her mother is a "moral woman," and innocent of all the charges she is facing.

"None of the things described in the indictment actually happened," she said.

The woman's daughter arrived yesterday with three of her adult brothers to testify at her mother's trial in Jerusalem District Court.

Ramat Beit Shemesh is a mixed neighborhood of ultra-Orthodox, modern-Orthodox and secular Jews within the city of Beit Shemesh, located southwest of the capital.

"She might have given a slap on occasion, but not what they're describing," said the daughter. "She was a warm, caring mother. She's being described as a 'Taliban mother,' because of the way she dresses."

The defendant appeared in court fully covered from head to toe, including her face, and her attorney said her client's religious beliefs precluded her from answering the male judge directly.

The indictment claims that the woman beat her children with blunt objects, and often locked them out of the house. It also states that some of the children allegedly engaged in incest while they were locked out, which the mother allegedly failed to report.

The mother's lawyer, Orna Sabagh Aruati, said before the court proceedings that "the State Prosecutor's Office and the police put words in the children's mouths to incriminate their mother."

"This is a witch hunt. They took the kids, who had never in their lives been questioned by police, and interrogated them," she said. "They threw serious allegations at them in order to get them to say horrible things against their mother."

"My mother is a moral woman," added the accused woman's daughter.