Probation officer berated parents over religious beliefs

Wednesday, January 2, 7:37 In a meeting between the parents of the youth accused of involvement with a clash between Jews and Arabs during the traditional dance and flag waving celebration (Flag Dance) on the most recent Jerusalem Day (May 20, 2012), and a probation officer from the Youth Probation Services in Hertzliya, the officer, Chaya Roseman, severely criticized the parents for their religious beliefs. The parents related that according to the officer their belief in the existence of God has no basis in reality. The officer referred the parents to what a religious journalist had said in order to show them that religious people also doubt the existence of God. Later the officer told the mother, who mentioned that she has seven children, that in the religious-hareidi sector there are many instances of parents sexually assaulting children “because of the large number of children [in each family]”. On the most recent Jerusalem Day (May 20, 2012), A., a 16 year old Ramat Gan resident, was detained with some of his friends after a clash developed between Jewish youth marching in the traditional Jerusalem Day Flag Dance parade and Arab youth. According to the detainees and their friends a group of Arab youth from East Jerusalem crowded around them near Sha’ar Shechem (Damascus Gate) and began to curse them, throw objects at them and shove them. The Jewish youth who fought back in an attempt to defend themselves were detained by policemen who arrived at the scene. According to the Jewish youth not even one of their Arab assailants was detained. The Jewish youth were taken to the detention center at the Russian Compound in Jerusalem where they were interrogated. After one night in remand the detainees were released to their homes and given a restraining order banning them from entering the Old City of Jerusalem for two weeks. The police considered issuing a charge sheet against some of the youths, but in the ended merely referred one of them, A., to a probation officer at the Youth Probation Services. Several months after the Jerusalem Day incident A.’s parents were summoned for a meeting with Chaya Roseman, a probation officer at the Youth Probation Services in Hertzliya. According to the parents from the very beginning the meeting did not seem to have a purpose: The incident in which their son was involved was hardly mentioned and at some point Roseman began to criticize them for their religious faith. The surprised parents were forced to listen to Roseman’s negative opinions of their religious beliefs and when they presented themselves as the parents of A. and his six siblings they received a lecture on, according to Roseman, the many instances of sexual assault on children by their parents in religious families, due to the large numbers of children in each family. The surprised parents attempted to maintain their composure in order not to adversely affect their son’s case. Later in the meeting Roseman told them that she would try to have the matter end without an indictment, however the following day the parents received a phone call from her in which she informed them that an indictment would be filed against their son. When they reminded her of her assurance on the previous day she said that she wasn’t involved with the details of the matter and therefore said what she had said. For several months the parents hesitated to file a complaint with Roseman’s superiors out of concern for damaging their son’s case, however yesterday (Tuesday, January 1) on the advice of Honenu attorney Rehavia Piltz, who is representing their son, they filed a complaint with the Hertzliya District Administration of the Probation Services. In response to the incident Honenu attorney Rehavia Piltz says that, “The youth has no criminal record and has never been in trouble with the law. He came to celebrate Jerusalem Day and marched in a legal, authorized event guarded by security forces. The brutal detention and harsh meeting with the probation officer left the youth and his family hurt and with bitter feeling towards the government and the social services. “Not for nothing do we quote the vision statement of the Youth Probation Services which states, ‘We believe that every minor who has violated the law is capable of changing his or her behavior by means of the opportunity given him or her to receive treatment, advice, counsel, and guidance. To that end we work with dedication, authority and a wide-range of therapeutic skills, with the cooperation of the minors, their parents and the community in which they live.’ “It is a shame that instead of following the vision statement a probation officer in the State of Israel chose to attack the religious beliefs of the family.” A response from the Youth Probation Services had not been received by the time of this posting.

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