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Parents in Israel kept boy, 14, at home ‘since birth’

A boy, dressed up in Purim costumes, takes part in the reading from the Book of Esther ceremony performed on the Jewish holiday of Purim as recounted in the Book of Esther, in Jerusalem March 13, 2017. — Reuters picA boy, dressed up in Purim costumes, takes part in the reading from the Book of Esther ceremony performed on the Jewish holiday of Purim as recounted in the Book of Esther, in Jerusalem March 13, 2017. — Reuters pic

TEL AVIV, May 12 — Israeli police said they freed a 14-year-old boy yesterday who had been kept at home by his parents ever since his birth.

Social services in the town of Hadera, north of Tel Aviv, had called in the police after they were alerted by a neighbour of the family.

Police arrested the parents, aged around 60, and handed over the boy to social services for medical care.

The neighbour, Chiko Waknin, told army radio that he had seen the boy through a window looking “like a zombie in a horror film”.

“His eyes seemed to be saying, ‘Help me’, so I decided I had to do something,” said the neighbour, adding that the home was in a “dilapidated” state and emitted an “unbearable smell”.

The parents are Russian-speakers and hardly know any Hebrew, he said.

Their lawyer Dan Guilad, quoted by Israeli media, said they had been trying “to protect their son who suffers from health problems”.

Radio reports said the child had told police he was allowed to go out into the courtyard of his apartment building twice a month accompanied by his parents, mostly at night. — AFP

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