“The evil that men do lives after them”, quoted from the play Julius Caesar by Shakespeare, and so do the evils of various officials of the Israeli services for the Mentally Handicapped. These evils live on in the form of physically and mentally degraded sick adults, who were placed, as children, in Israeli government Homes. Officials come and go, but the evils and cruelty in various homes are continually seen in the form of innocent speechless sick degraded adults who live on or die without and investigations of the cause of death. The 1983 newspaper revelation in the Jerusalem Post, printed below, illustrates the above.
How Many Deaths is Too Many?
One hundred and fifty deaths in 10 years in an institution for the retarded is not an “astounding” figure, the director of services for the retarded in the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Dr. Meir Hovav, told The Post yesterday.
He was referring to the Beit Tina private institution, whose owners, Shimon and Tina Peled, are under arrest following the recent death of two teenage boys, allegedly from malnutrition.
“You have to look at their life expectancy in the first place,” he said. “Retarded people die young. Why don’t you ask how many people die in Hadassah?
Hovav, who admitted he is not an expert in the field of care of the retarded, has held his present position for six months and learned “on the job.” His training is in general education and sociology, he said.
Regarding the institutions severely criticized in the “unpublished” appendix which was leaked to the press, Hovav said he wanted two closed.
As stated in the article, Dr. Hovav, then head of the Israel Services for Mentally Handicapped, had neither education or experience in the care of the mentally handicapped. The opinions he expressed to the news reporter show that he had no sympathy or compassion for people who are mentally handicapped. His remarks about the deaths of such handicapped are cruel and heartless. That he held his position as head of services is a revealing commentary on the nepotism and politics involved in the appointment of officials in Israel. Dr. Hovav came and went, but destroyed handicapped adults, are still around in various homes in Israel because of attitudes that exist amongst those responsible for the care of mentally handicapped in Israel.
What gives rise to such a cruel, evil situation? Tradition and evil human beings. Ancient traditions persist in our modern times, such as:
- a defective child is a symbol of the curse of G-d;
- a handicapped or deformed person is a shame;
- defective children should be hidden by their families, residences for defectives should be located far from the habitats of normal people;
- the best thing for defectives is that they should die, and thus remove the problem of caring for them.
Add to these attitudes, that some officials put them into practice, and you can understand why evils and cruelties are still found in some residences for the handicapped in Israel.
An example of this is found in the care of mentally handicapped residents of Building 9 in the Elwyn Residential Center for Jewish Israeli mentally handicapped. Years of suffering from physical and mental abuse have turned residents, who were once children placed in Building 9, into sick, immobile, adults.
In the morning hours, 9:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m., these residents can be found in the small yard where they are placed, sitting with their faces covered with flies. Uncovered garbage bins are located close to the yard. Cats are abundant throughout the residence. They are present everywhere within Building 9, residents are given food previously touched or even tasted by cats. Many other evils and cruelties in the Elwyn Jerusalem home will be described on this blog, in further communications.
It is of importance to publish the names of those responsible for the care of residents in the Elwyn Jerusalem Residential Center for Jewish children located near the Hadassah Ein-Kerem Hospital.
Foremost: Dr. Amir Schwartz, chief social worker of the Israel Services for the Mentally Handicapped, is responsible for the standards of care in homes.
Mr. David Marcu is the manager of the Elwyn Residential Center.
Miss Sarah Sodovnick is the assistant manager. One of the old-time employees of the Israel Services for the Mentally Handicapped, Miss Sodovnick has served in various positions throughout her long career.
I am acquainting you with the evils and cruelties in Israeli homes for the mentally handicapped. The objective is to arouse public pressure upon those responsible for such care to act to terminate abusive practices and abusive conditions. If you have ideas, if you have suggestions, if you can cite similar instances, communicate with me. We need lawyers and medical doctors to investigate health conditions and bring those responsible for abuses to trial in the courts.
Please help. Write to me.