Dramatic Increase in Child Abuse in Israel is Reported

The problem of child abuse has come to the surface in Israel in recent years with a dramatic increase in the number of reported cases.

Dr. Hanita Zimrin, a professor at Tel Aviv University’s School of Social Work, asserted here that last year alone there were more than 600 reported child abuse cases. However, she said that the actual number of child abuse cases in Israel is much larger, in the neighborhood of some 3,000 a year.

Zimrin said that abused children in Israel are exposed to physical abuse such as cigarerette burns on their bodies and other injuries inflicted upon them; neglect which includes starvation; sexual abuse and emotional abuse.

ZIMRIN: CHILDREN ABUSED BY BOTH PARENTS

According to Zimrin, most of the abuse is done by the parents. “Our experience shows that about 95 percent of the abuse cases are committed by one or both parents of the child,” she said.

Claiming that Israel has a “nice welfare system for children, ” in the form of child care clinics known as Tipat Halav, Zimrin charged however that the system “is not effective when children are abused.” In Israel, she continued a person cannot be charged with a crime for failing to report a case of child abuse, and in many cases child abusers are not punished, or are punished lightly.

Noting that “more cases of child abuse are found in the lower classes,” in Israel, therefore, more cases are found among Sephardic Jews who comprise the majority of the lower classes in Israel. But she suggested that the phenomenon of child abuse is a reality among the higher classes in Israel, the Ashkenazim, but that is not as easily found or reported since the higher classes are not exposed to social services as the lower ones.

Zimrin, currently on a lecture tour of the U.S., last week addressed a private luncheon arranged by the United Jewish Appeal in cooperation with Henry Everett, a UJA leader.

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