Day Care Employee in Tel Aviv Suburb Admits Abusing Children in Her Care

Apologizes in court: ‘If I had seen this video on the internet, I would have said: “Who is that monster doing that?”’

The day care care center, Haktantanim Shel Yael, where Sigal Elkayam Weiss worked, last week
Tomer Appelbaum

A teacher at a Ramat Gan day care center who was arrested Thursday admitted in court Sunday that she had abused children in her care. She was ordered held for an additional three days. 

Parents of children at the day care center, Haktantanim Shel Yael, which is attended by children up to age 3, were present at Sunday’s court hearing for the teacher, Sigal Elkayam Weiss, and shouted at her in anger. 

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Weiss was arrested after police reviewed security camera footage from the day care center. Police said the footage showed her hitting and otherwise abusing some of the children. The footage was presented to Weiss’ lawyer, and in response to the video, Weiss told the court: “If I had seen this video on the internet, I would have said: ‘Who is that monster doing that?’” She apologized for her actions.

Over the weekend a number of parents went to the police with their own allegations that Weiss had abused their children, saying she had hit them and put them in a dark room as punishment. A police representative told the court at Sunday’s hearing that an investigation had turned up evidence of repeated harm done to the children, including physical abuse of one child who required medical treatment for injuries. 

Police suspect that Weiss also assaulted children who no longer attend the day care center, and the release of her name to the media has generated additional complaints against her. The investigation is continuing and is to include the gathering of additional evidence from parents and a search of Weiss’ cellphone. 

Weiss was initially questioned a week and a half ago on suspicion of hitting children at the day care center, but after police obtained the security camera footage, they arrested her and questioned her again.

Weiss’ lawyer, Ness Ben-Nathan, said his client had no criminal record and has expressed remorse for her actions. “She explained the pressures and difficulties [she was experiencing] and has cooperated with the investigation,” he said. 

In an unrelated case, last week Ina Skivenko, an aide at a day care in Petah Tikva, was indicted for manslaughter in the death of an infant in her care, Yasmin Vinta, and for abusing a number of other children at the center. Police said Skivenko’s acts of abuse were also caught on security camera footage and that footage from last month showed her holding a heavy blanket over Yasmin Vinta’s head and body. Prosecutors said they obtained a coroner’s evaluation stating that it was nearly certain Vinta suffocated to death.