Three aides in a private day care center were ordered to remain in custody until Wednesday after a fourth employee filed a complaint of child abuse against them.
None of the children’s parents had complained about the aides, who were suspended from their jobs.
The Gush Etzion Regional Council attributed the police complaint to a dispute between the suspects and the complainant.
The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court placed a gag order on the case.
A spokesman for the council said the complaint was false. “After investigating the incident with the center’s administration, there are two groups of aides who had an argument last week,” he said. “One of the aides threatened to go to the police, and in fact did so.”
He added: “We were told that after an in-depth clarification this is not a case of child abuse, but of exploiting the public atmosphere in the country due to other cases covered by the media. We have faith in the Israel Police.”
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A spokesman for the Ramat David association, which operates the Shvilei Hinuch day care centers, including the preschool where the suspects work, said: “After we were informed about the complaint the caregivers were immediately suspended by the administration until the conclusion of the investigation by the authorized bodies.”
A spokesman for the association said they knew of no parents who refrained from sending their children to the preschool even after the investigation was reported.
Vered Birger, a lawyer who is representing one of the aides through the Public Defender’s Office, said the suspicions of abuse concern an incident that took place last year, and that police have known about it for three months.
“It’s very surprising that only now, when the subject of harming infants is on the agenda, did the Israel Police see fit to detain the preschool teachers,” Birger said.
“It’s clear that the suspicions are on the lowest level. We believe the police should end the investigation as soon as possible and release the preschool teachers to their homes,” she said.