Posts Tagged ‘youth violence’

Violence Takes No Holidays

In Crime in Israel on October 1, 2010 at 15:02

The holiday season in Israel has come to a close. But violence never took a holiday. Here are a few poignant examples.

Jerusalem: A Young Man Stabbed and Critically Wounded in an Ultra-Orthodox Neighborhood

Updated 01:04 01/10/2010
Sagi Shir

A serious injury during the celebration of Simchat Torah: A man of about 20 was stabbed last night (Thursday) in the Ultra- Orthodox Makor Baruch neighborhood in Jerusalem. An MDA team called to the scene evacuated the young man in critical condition to Shaare Zedek Hospital in the city. The background of the event is probably criminal.

The man was stabbed once in the groin; then the attacker fled from the scene towards the Peqi’in Street neighborhood. A Mobile MDA Unit that tried to rescue him was attacked as it reached the neighborhood, delaying the evacuation. Police are searching for the suspect in the stabbing.

This is not the only assault case reported during the days of Succot.

Ashdod police yesterday arrested three minors aged 16 and 17 on suspicion of attacking two minors aged 13 and 14 the evening before for no apparent reason . The minors are patients at Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot, one in moderate condition and one in good condition. They reported that they were sitting on a bench in the city when a group of teenagers approached them and began to attack them “for no reason.”

A similar criminal event took place last night in Holon in which  two minors, ages 16 and 17, are suspected of forcing a 12-year-old boy into a vehicle in front of a city garden and driving off. The police managed to seize the two men and rescue the boy, who was not severely injured in the incident.

Another unfortunate case took place on Wednesday, in which two people were killed and three others  injured near a cafe in Qalansawa cafe nearby, apparently after unknown persons opened fire towards a group of people sitting there.

In another incident an 18 year-old was killed by gunfire during a brawl in the Bedouin village Laqia in the Negev.

And here are a few more “holiday season ” headlines from Y-Net:

Suspected: A 16 year-old youth sexually assaulted a 6 year-old boy in Afula.
The youth, who works as a guard at a construction site, is suspected of committing indecent acts on the boy – who lives nearby. The child was taken to a hospital for medical examination.

Murder suspects arrested in Abu Gosh, “More blood will flow”
Four members of the Jaber Clan were arrested on suspicion of involvement in the murder of Hassan Othman last month. Police suspect that the murder was ‘blood revenge’ for the murder of a boy from the Jaber Family. The village fears more bloodshed.

Father Murders Mother and Says “I’ll Kill Myself”.
“We wanted to save Mom, explained the children of Munib Zhong and A. Ibrahim from Smi, a village in the Western Galilee, who witnessed the horror… The husband climbed up the ladder to the balcony – and stabbed his wife to death

Suspicion: A man stabbed after causing a child to drop his hot dog (Rishon L’Zion)

Suspected: Cop convicted of sexual harassment sexually assaulted female drivers
A Special Patrol officer (a resident of Kiryat Malachi) dismissed from his post following his conviction for harassing a female soldier, was arrested on suspicion of attacking women who were driving alone, signaling them to stop because of disrepair and attempting to sexually assault them.

Mother threw her two children from the 4th floor and jumped. They survived. (Tel-Aviv)

Four year-old injured from shots fired at a house in Tira

14 Year-Old Complains: My husband attacked me even though I was pregnant
Husband suspected of assaulting the young wife on numerous occasions, in addition to suspected statutory rape.

Indictment: Bnei Brak Resident Serving in the 8200 Elite Computer Unit held in sexual harassment of young girl

Caretakers sexually abused mentally-ill patients
Adi Revach and Orly Wanda from Pardes  Hannah are accused of causing inmates to commit a series of serious sex offenses,

Man suspected of raping an 11 year-old girl in the succah that stood at the Tomb of Rabbi Meir in Tiberias

16 year-old admitted that he murdered 14-year-old  over a cigarette (Beersheba)

Beersheba murder: A boy of 15 stabbed to death in a fight

Guess it’s time to get back to work…

Drowning in a Sea of Child Victims… & Assailants

In Children on March 14, 2010 at 02:43
A suspect in the repeated rape of a girl from Northern Israel

Young suspected gang rapist

It occurred to me, after last week’s post, that I had not adequately explained that the sexual assault case being discussed was not the first case of its kind this year. It was proceeded by a case of a girl in Northern Israel who had over several years, allegedly from the age of 10, been a regular target of sexual abuse at the hands of local youths.

I will spare you the details. Needless to say, it was a horrific case. If anything positive came out of it, it was a widespread awareness of the issue and of the problems the system is having in trying to deal with this emerging phenomenon.

I leave you in the capable hands of reporter Yael Barnovsky , whose background report in on Y-net was absolutely chilling. I hope my translation in English does her report justice…

Sexual Assaults: 700 Children Have No One To Report Them To

Recent horrendous incidents of sexual violence against children have caught the Welfare Ministry with hundreds of children waiting for investigators. 250 complaints were received since the beginning of the month, just in Tel – Aviv…


Feb. 11, 2010

Yael Barnovsky

A string of high-profile cases of sexual violence against children, culminating in the case of gang rape of a child in the North, finds the Ministry of Social Affairs with a severe shortage of Child Investigators. Some 250 complaints were received over the first ten days of the month (February) in Tel – Aviv alone. About 700 children are waiting their turn to be questioned by Child Investigators, but there is no one to conduct the investigations. The increase in referrals is attributed to the high media exposure of the murder of 7 year-old Leon Kalanatrov of Bnei Ayish, which placed the issue heavily on the agenda.

When a complaint of sexual assault reaches the police, if the offenders and / or victims are under age 14, the law stipulates that they be investigated by Child Investigators from the Office of Welfare, and only then are the findings presented to police investigators and the courts.

Requests for Child Investigators came mainly from the police, but they also come from parents who file complaints through the education system. Under Ronit Tzur, the Welfare Office’s Triage Officer, a total of 57 Child Investigators serve the entire country. For the last several months, they have been operating in emergency mode, their vacations canceled.

Retired Judge Saviona Rotalvi, whom Ynet interviewed extensively on the subject, also emphasized the difficult situation faced by the Child Investigators: “Whenever an event occurs, the media cries out and then forgets. The situation of the Child Investigators is catastrophic. Years and years of cutbacks have made is so those children who should be interviewed immediately are only investigated after weeks and months. Every time a story is exposed, there is an outcry, but no real search for true solutions – I am very upset by this situation.”

During a hearing held yesterday by the ministerial committee handling the problem of pedophilia, Welfare Minister Isaac Herzog discussed the manpower shortage and said he cannot cope with this phenomenon if he is not assigned an additional 35 special investigators. “Instead of emphasizing trains and balconies, you should take care of people,” he said to Ynet, criticizing the  energy invested by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in promoting economic reforms.

Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch told the committee that the volume of this phenomenon has increased on the Internet has increased and is taking up more and more space so that his office too needs increased financial allocations to manage it. Committee Chairman Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman said it is clear that in order to combat these phenomena more funds must be recruited. The team concluded that, at its next meeting that each department will submit all their specific budgetary requirements.

Meanwhile, the ministerial staff made a number of decisions:

• to expand the reporting obligation of any person who suspects sex offenses against minors
• to examine the possibility of wider public notification regarding the presence of sex offenders
• to speed up resolutions to the question of rehabilitation of sex offenders and on-going supervision after release and examine the possibilities for medical treatment
• to reduce waiting times for investigation by increasing the number of investigators

• to coordinate activities of those authorities that deal with sexual assault

Instead Of Receiving Sex Education – They Learn From Porn Sites

Sexual assault of children is a widespread phenomenon with which Israeli society has difficulty dealing. According to data from the Council for the Child, in 2009, 2,450 children under the age of 14 fell victim to sexual assault. About a third of them were children younger than 9, a third ages 9-11 and another third, ages 12-14. About half the children were hurt by a friend or neighbor. In about 324 cases the perpetrators were themselves children under 14, in about five such cases, under the age of 12. About 95 percent of the perpetrators were boys.

The national average for children affected by sexual assault stands at about 4.1 per thousand. The “leading” cities for reported child sexual assault, according to the Council for the Child, were Tel-Aviv (8.6 per thousand), Or Yehuda (8.6), Eilat (11.4), Bat Yam (10.6), Nesher (12.1), Afula (11.8) and Pardes Hanna (9).

Welfare authorities, drowning in a sea of shocking cases, point an accusing finger at the educational system, and claim that is not investing enough in sex education. There are even schools in which no workshops on sexual assault are offered, and the primary source of information from which children derive information the subject is from porn sites on the Internet. According to data from the welfare system and Israeli Rape Crisis Centers, in recent years there has been a dramatic decline in the ages of both victims and perpetrators of sexual assault. Similarly, more and more cases are coming to light involving groups of children – whether speaking of incidents of gang rape, or of injury to dozens of children by a pedophile.

“Minors at this stage of their lives are very curious, and practically the only information they receive comes from porn sites,” said Attorney Inbar Yehezkeli-Blilos, the legal adviser of the Central Association of Rape Crisis Centers to Ynet. “Schools must provide more workshops on the subject .Children are exposed to pornography and try to reproduce those same behaviors, which seems to them normative, even in real life. Unfortunately, some schools do not want us – because of their obvious fear that complaints will suddenly arise.

“Blame the victim”

Sometimes, minor or minors who become victims of sexual exploitation, present themselves as if they agreed to what was done to them. However, according to all the experts, at age 10 and even at age 14,  children are not really capable of making independent decisions. “The police and the judiciary often see the victims as ‘seducers’ and are not able to see the back story  ,” says Attorney Yehezkeli. “There are judges, investigators and lawyers who know how to conduct themselves, but still there are those that hold patriarchal views, blame the victim and throw the blame on them. The police are, at times, very often sympathetic to the perpetrators.”

Choices Of The Heart

In Violence in Israeli Society on October 18, 2009 at 01:47

All too familiar a scene

All too familiar a scene

This past Wednesday night, I went to Beit Shemesh to talk to a group of residents, to hear their concerns about rising crime in their neighborhoods and to talk with them about the possibility of  creating a Beit Shemesh Safety Patrol for Israel’s Guardian Angels.

My hosts were originally expecting it to be a parlor meeting about 10-12 people. Then, last Friday night a neighborhood 14 year-old was attacked by four local 11-12 year-olds. He eventually managed to get away from them, but not before sustaining a cut under his eye that looks like it may have been made by a “sharp instrument”. Suddenly, requests to join the meeting started pouring in. My hostess had to turn people away.

Apparently, that young man from BeitShemesh has the entire community behind him now! If the young thugs who attacked him plan on continuing their violent ways, they sure picked the wrong victim and the wrong time.

Timing: Is It Everything?

Nothing like an attack close to home to bring out the neighbors. But what about all these recent crime stories, this summer’s spate of killings or yesterday’s shocking family murder (see below)? Is this the direction all our neighborhoods are headed or it is just media spin?

Well, according to a recent study that analyzed violent crime in Israel on the basis of Israel Police data for every violent offense between 1980-2007,  there has been an average increase of 37 percent in the number of cases opened for crimes of violence per 100,000 inhabitants.

However,  despite today’s shocking headlines, most of this increase occurred during the 1990s; since 2000, the level has been roughly stable or slightly declined.

Murders Down, Assaults Up

The number of murder cases per 100,000 inhabitants fell from 2.29 in 1980 to 1.82 in 1990 and then to 1.75 in 2007. According to researchers Prof. Aryeh Rattner, head of the Haifa University Center for the Study of Crime, Law and Society, and Prof. Gideon Fishman, an expert on criminology and president of Western Galilee College, the incidence of murder and attempted murder in Israel remains relatively low. By comparison, the incidence of murder in the United States in recent years has been about 7 to 8 per 100,000. In England, it is 1.62, and in Canada, 1.74. In Russia, the rate has been 18 murders per 100,000.

At the same time,  incidents of assault jumped. In 1980, there were 281 cases of assault per 100,000 inhabitants; by 2007, this number rose to 444.

About one-third of all 1990s assault cases were domestic violence cases. Cases of assault and grievous bodily harm in the context of domestic violence between 1990 and 2007 increased  157 percent. Ladies, maybe it’s not such a good idea to stay home after all…

Choices of The Heart

I don’t know about you, but, in my experience, very few people are moved to action by statistics.  They may use statistics to justify themselves, but real decisions of this nature are usually made in the heart, not the head. In the end, whether its Guardian Angels Safety Patrols or El HaLev Self-Defense Classes, it boils down to how close to your heart the threat of violence has come and what you choose to do with the fear that that threat engenders. Some people go into denial. Others lock their doors and bar their windows. And some  stand up, by themselves or with their neighbors, and take their safety into their own hands.

Family of 6 Slain in Central Israel

Emergency services called to scene of fire in Rishon Lezion shocked to find four adults, toddler, three-month old baby stabbed to death. Firefighter: It was a gruesome scene;  incident believed homicide

Eli Senyor- Ynet

The bodies of six people, including two children, were found in a torched apartment in central Israel’s Rishon Lezion’s Nordau Street Saturday.

Mass emergency, Fire and Rescue and police forces were called to the scene of the fire in the early hours of the morning. The flames were soon extinguished, but paramedics had no choice but to pronounce six individuals found at the apartment dead at the scene.

The victims were identified as Eduard Ushrenko and his wife Ludmila (56), their son Demetri (32), his wife Tatiana (28) and their two children, Revital (3) and Netanel (four months).

Initial investigation revealed multiple points of origin for the fire, as well as evidence of blood and stab wounds on the bodies. The Police believe the deaths were not related to the fire and are treating the case as a homicide…

Firefighter Moshe Cohen told Ynet …

“It was a gruesome scene. We quickly realized their deaths were not related to the fire, but that it was in all probability a criminal act…

Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen, Central Police District Commander Nisim Mor and HaShephelah Subdistrict Commander Shimon Ben Harush arrived at the scene to personally supervise the investigation.

Mor: “This is a very difficult scene. Five members of the family were found stabbed and one body was found charred. We are currently exploring all leads, but we believed the murders were committed from within the apartment, since it was found with the door locked.”…

A background check on the family involved revealed the police had no record of them…

A New Ending To A Tragic Tale

In teens on September 27, 2009 at 02:02
Giving teens the skills to make & support wise choices

Giving teens the skills to make & support wise choices

Oh, Leah. Leah, I wish we could have met before this happened. You see, most of the 15 year-old girls I meet are students in the 16- hour IMPACT Teen Classes we teach. You would probably have felt right at home with us.

Maybe, had you been there, you would have trusted those first signals that no doubt, began to rise in your gut when Dorosham gave you and your friends a ride.  We talk a lot about the importance of honoring your instincts. Maybe you would have gotten out of the car with your friends rather than staying alone with a man your instincts told you not to trust.

Once he got you alone, you still had the strength and the conviction to tell him you didn’t want to sleep with him. A 15 year-old girl all alone facing down a 23 year-old man. That took amazing courage . I only wish you had had the chance to learn the kind of  skills we teach so you would have been able to back up your conviction.

Maybe you would have known how to keep facing him and keep him out of your personal space. Maybe you would have startled him by yelling “BACK OFF!!! and had the presence of mind to push the emergency number on your cellphone.

If he didn’t listen to you, maybe you would have dropped to the sand in that well-practiced defensive ground position- one knee protecting your head and your other leg drawn back like a coiled snake, ready to strike. If he tried to come near you, that coiled leg would have shot out and hit him so hard between the legs, he might have crumpled to the ground. He might have gone down to his knees only to receive a devastating kick to the head and another and another… until he was no longer a threat.

You might have walked away, Leah. Maybe you would have used your cellphone to call the police. It would have been HIM, not you, that they would have found lying on Hill 69. He might have been dragged off to jail where he belonged and you might have gone home to your family…where you belong.

Instead, Leah, you are lying in a fresh grave in the Ashkelon Cemetary. Your family is broken. Your friends are in mourning. And all of us are left asking ourselves “What if…?”

The next IMPACT for Teens Course I teach, Leah, I will look into the eyes of those 15 young women and I will think of you. I will hope that none of them will ever need the skills we will teach them, but I will remember that each one of them represents a chance to rewrite the ending of  tragic stories like yours: a chance you deserved but never had.

Murdered Ashkelon girl laid to rest

Sep. 25, 2009

Hundreds of relatives and friends of 15-year-old Leah Drenkin gathered at an Ashkelon cemetery on Thursday afternoon to pay their last respects to the murdered teenager.

Police believe Nikolai Dorosham, 26, strangled Drenkin in a clearing on Hill 69, near Nitzanim, early on Wednesday, because she refused to have sexual intercourse with him. He has been arrested and charged with murder.

Drenkin’s grandmother, tearful and dazed, crawled on the grave, as dozens of Drenkin’s sobbing friends from high school gathered around, wearing black T-shirts.

Her father shook as he scattered earth over his daughter’s grave.

“She was a flower that was cut down,” Esther Oren, principal of the high school Drenkin attended, told The Jerusalem Post after the funeral.

“Every parent would want a girl like her. She was social, polite, she excelled in her studies. And she was pretty. The teachers are in shock,” Oren said.

Psychologists have been called to the school to offer support to Drenkin’s schoolmates.

“We do not live in a normal world. Leah, I think of what you went through during those terrible hours. I am sorry we could not save you,” Oren told the mourners.

“Just when the whole of the nation of Israel is supposed to focus on unconditional love ahead of Yom Kippur, we get this news,” said Eli Efrah, head of Ashkelon’s Burial Society.

“This is a tragedy for the city of Ashkelon, and for all people with blood running through their veins. We have enough trouble from outside of the country. We don’t need it inside…”

All That Evil Needs To Exist…

In Crime in Israel on August 16, 2009 at 02:31
Guardian Angel Training

Guardian Angel Training

This post is dedicated to the courage of seven Hollywood, CA Guardian Angels  on Safety Patrol  who were attacked last week by a mob while attempting to protect a college student. The Force Be With You- Jedi

There is no way to enter my office at El HaLev without knowing that I am a Guardian Angel. My red beret and white Safety Patrol T-shirt are always at the ready on my desk and, hanging on the wall is, not my understated traditional white karate uniform, but a flashy red and white Jr. Guardian Angels Demo Team uniform, a gift from Stretch, a trainer for New York’s Guardian Angels.

I get a wide variety of reactions from people who notice my affiliation. Most of them can’t understand how I manage to fit another activity into my life. When it comes to that, I am as baffled as they are.

However, many are baffled about WHY I am a Guardian Angel, or perhaps more specifically, what in the world that has to do with my dedication to the martial arts, teaching self-defense and empowering women in Israeli society.

To me, the connection is crystal clear.

All that evil needs to succeed is for good men to do nothing. — Edmund Burke

My martial arts training has given me the power to prevent people from doing evil to me or, at the very least, to do the maximum possible to take responsibility for my life and my safety. My teaching of self-defense gives me an opportunity to share a range of tools, verbal and emotional as well as physical, with women, teens, children and people with special needs to help them take responsibility for their safety and peace of mind.

Just to be clear, taking responsibility is not the same as taking blame. Perpetrators of violence are 100% to blame for the evil they do and for suffering the consequences of the choices they make. Blame is blame; Responsibility is power.

Seven murders have taken place in Israel over the last two weeks: from young people mowed down in cold blood at a Gay & Lesbian Club to a 3 year-old suffocated by her father to a man enjoying an evening breeze with his wife and daughter, minutes later beaten and drowned by a bunch of young thugs. Our Prime Minister is appalled, as well he should be. The Police are furiously investigating, doing their best. The rest of us are… what? Reading the headlines and wringing our hands, waiting to find out who is to blame s.

Newsflash: Knowing who is to blame is not enough and will never be enough. Knowing who pulled the trigger or drew the knife will not stop the wave of violence. We, as a society, cannot sit back, appalled and wait. Let’s stop pointing fingers and start looking in the mirror. That is where we will find the “good people” who must do something to stop violence from taking over our streets.

Guardian Angels is about taking responsibility. It is about learning to care for ourselves and each other. It is about winning the battle for our streets, our neighborhoods and our society. It is about offering a hand to young people on the edge and pulling them from the Dark Side to the Light. It is about becoming part of the solution and serving as role models for moving from helplessness to hopefulness and from victimhood to victory.

Taking responsibility is embodying the change you want to see or, as Guardian Angel’s founder Curtis Sliwa likes to say, “If it is to be, it must begin with me.”

That is the essence of empowerment and that, my friends, is why I am a Guardian Angel.

Netanyahu ‘appalled’ by suspected lynch

Corpse of 59-year old man assaulted Friday night while walking with his wife, daughter on beach is last in seven murders to have occurred over two weeks; 10 suspects have been arrested

Avi Cohen: http://www.ynet.com

A body was found early Saturday in an Israel Electric Corporation facility in north Tel Aviv. Police say it belongs to a 59-year-old man, Leonard (Arik) Karp, who was assaulted Friday night along with his wife and daughter at the Tel Baruch beach.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch about the murder Saturday evening and said he was appalled and concerned about the case.

Netanyahu ordered the minister to increase police activity against hooliganism and to expedite indictments in the case, the last of seven murders to have occurred in Israel over the course of just two weeks.

Police forces have arrested 10 suspects so far, residents of the Arab local council of Jaljulia and the city of Petah Tikva. Police said they would appeal for a gag order against the publication of the suspects’ photos in order to refrain from compromising a future lineup.

Several of the suspects were arrested in the Horashim Forest in a state of intoxication.

One of the suspects, a 17-year old girl from Petah Tikva, was led by officers to the scene of the crime in order to recount the incident. She said the suspects beat Karp after he voiced a comment to them.

A police investigation revealed that the man, who lives in the area, was sitting with his wife and 25-year-old daughter on a bench at the beach, when a group of young people arrived at the area.

According to the mother and daughter, the youths made a comment about Karp’s daughter and he responded, prompting them to attack the family members.

At a certain stage, the mother and daughter began fleeing the area. Some of the assailants ran after them, while the other continued beating the father. The father managed to escape a short distance, but the youths chased him and allegedly drowned him in the water…

Scenes From The Dark Side of The Holy Land

In Violence in Israeli Society on July 16, 2009 at 20:00

July 14, 2009: This morning, prosecutors issued a serious indictment in the Youth Court in Rehovot against three 16 year old girls, city residents, accusing them of physically abusing their good friend, a 17 year-old girl. They are accused of holding a knife against her throat, extinguishing cigarettes on her skin and threatening to kill her, all because they suspected her of being romantically involved with the boyfriend of one of the accused.

Seedy, isn’t it?

There is something deeply disturbing about seeing young people in Israel- particularly young women- sliding into depraved indifference.  We’re talking about a society in which people still stop to pick up hitchhikers and money is passed hand-to-hand from the back of the bus to the front to pay the fare!

But come on. Israel is not Biblical Disneyland, anymore than it is the Evil Empire (though there are those who seem determined to characterize it that way). It is a real country with real people who have real problems. It’s a modern Western culture, with all the good and bad that goes with that. At the same time, it is a crossroads, a fault line where modern and traditional , the Middle East and the West meet and sometimes clash.

Israel has its crime families and its everyday heroes, its crooked politicians and its straight-as-an-arrow idealists. It has its stereotypes and it has its stereotype breakers… And aren’t teens everywhere somehow compelled to fill that role?

I helped instruct two  IMPACT Self-Defense for Teens courses over the last several months: one in Beersheva for a group of 18-19 year old girls from the Ethiopian community and one in the Etzion Bloc for a group of 14-17 year olds referred through the local “Social Welfare” Office.  I was expecting stereotypical At-Risk Teens. At-Risk Teens generally arrive late if at all with a life-is-tough-but-I’m-tougher attitude.  Winning them over is half the battle. The staff was pumped and ready. Yet, as it turned out, each of these girls was more helpful, polite and appreciative than the next. Not at all what we expected.

I guess it all serves as a reminder to constantly re-examine our assumptions and maintain the flexibility we need to deal with people as they are, not as we wish they were, nor as we fear they might be.

As for the victim of the incident described above, a few pieces of advice: 1) stay away from your friends’ crushes,  2) get yourself some new friends and 3) take a good self-defense course. You are lucky to have gotten out of this in one piece. We’d like to help you  stay that way.

Source: http://www.nrg.co.il (Maariv Online)