Jerusalem Hospital Mulls Releasing Boy Allegedly Starved by Haredi Mother

Compromise in the works which would end Haredi sect's boycott of Hadassah University Hospital.

Officials at Hadassah University Hospital on Tuesday are considering discharging the young boy who was being treated for malnourishment allegedly caused by his mother's neglect. The move could be part of a compromise whereby leaders of an ultra-Orthodox sect announce an end to the group's boycott of the hospital.

The proposed compromise was raised during a meeting between Rabbi Yitzhak Tuvia Weiss, an ultra-Orthodox leader, and the head of the hospital, Professor Shlomo Mor-Yosef.

Scores of followers belonging to the sect, known in Hebrew as Ha'eda Haharedit, rioted in Jerusalem last week following the arrest of the mother, who is suspected of starving her three-year-old son.

The woman underwent psychiatric evaluation on Monday after the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court president, Judge Shulamit Dotan, issued an ultimatum: Either undergo psychiatric testing or return to jail.

The judge took the tougher stance after the mother initially refused to agree to psychiatric testing, a key condition of her release to house arrest.

Ultra-Orthodox community leaders and demonstrators expressed anger at the authorities and hospital officials over the arrest, arguing that the mother is innocent and that the affair was a pretext cooked up by the "Zionist authorities" to harass the religious public.

Haredi leaders and public officials have held a number of discussions in an effort to restore calm to the tense atmosphere which has permeated religious-secular relations in the capital over the last month.