Israeli Baby Hospitalized Fighting for Her Life Was Abuse Victim, Police Say

Mother and boyfriend are suspected of abuse, neglect, investigators tell the court

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Illustrative photo showing a prisoner being led to Israeli court.
Illustrative photo showing a prisoner being led to Israeli court.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

 A 10-month-old girl from Ashkelon who was hospitalized in critical condition on Tuesday was a victim of ongoing abuse, a police representative told the local magistrate’s court on Wednesday.

She was fighting for her life Tuesday night, doctors said.

Ziad Aabid, the mother’s boyfriend, is suspected of abuse, assaulting a helpless dependent, neglect and abandoning a minor. He is also suspected of assaulting the mother several times. The court extended his remand by another five days. The mother, who has also been detained and whose name is under a gag order, is also suspected of abusing and neglecting a minor. The court ordered her held for another three days.

During the hearing, it emerged that Aabid, a 21-year-old resident of the West Bank, had been living in Ashkelon with the mother for the past few months, even though he does not have a permit to be in Israel. The mother left him to watch over her daughter several times.

The child was apparently injured while Aabid was watching over her. Aabid claimed the child was injured after falling out of his arms two days ago, and denies intentionally harming her.

After the child was injured, Aabid went to the neighbors, asked them to call the police, and then left for the West Bank, according to testimony delivered to the court. Police and rescue services found the child with a very serious head injury, and took her to the hospital in critical condition. She has a severely broken skull and intracranial bleeding.

Initially the police arrested the baby’s parents, both 22, on suspicions of neglect and abuse, but later tracked down Aabid near Plugot junction, about 20 kilometers west of Ashkelon, on his way to the West Bank. The baby’s biological father was then released.

Police also arrested the driver who was taking Aabid to the West Bank. The driver, a resident of one of the Bedouin communities southern Israel, argued that he had no prior acquaintance with Aabid and was merely working as a driver. The court ordered him held for another two days.

“Currently the main concern is for the baby’s wellbeing," Yossi Daga, a public defense attorney representing Aabid, stated. "Ziad took doting care of her over the past few months. He is in a rough emotional state. He is cooperating with investigators and gave his version of events. He says he had no intent to harm the baby. He didn’t abandon her; rather, he made sure she would receive medical care.” Aabid does not speak Hebrew and was aided by a translator in court.

The Israel National Council for the Child stated that research indicates that one out of five children in Israel are subject to abuse by an adult.