Four employees of a Haifa nursing home were indicted Sunday by the city magistrate’s court for assault, a month after the broadcast of footage that appeared to show them subjecting elderly residents to extreme mistreatment.
The defendants, a head nurse and three other workers from the Neot Kipat Hazahav old age home were charged with aggravated assault and attacks against the helpless.
The court said Hussam Abu Ahmad, Andrei Keyes, Peter Goskob and Inessa Schneider were identified in the video footage documenting the abuse aired by Channel 2 in February.
A Channel 2 report broadcast in February showed workers brutally punching residents and violently shaking them in order to force them to go to sleep.
The report documented appalling hygienic conditions at the Haifa facility, with seniors being forced to sleep on urine-stained mattresses and going days on end without being washed.
The footage was provided to the television station by a Neot Kipat Hazahav worker, who documented the abuse over a period of several months in order to expose what he described as “things I never imagined even in my nightmares.”
After the report aired, police raided the nursing home, making several arrests and interrogated dozens of Neot Kipat Hazahav employees. The Health Ministry then summoned senior staff for a hearing and ordered the facility’s director replaced with a medical administrator.
Health Minister Yaakov Litzman expressed outrage at the documented abuse, and vowed a thorough review of Israel’s nursing homes that would include firing workers and management officials.
He personally led a team of ministry officials to Neot Kipat Hazahav where they demanded to inspect the facility and appraise work methods and practices.
“I am shaken by what happened here,” Litzman told Channel 2 television in an interview from the Haifa home. “It is inhuman, I don’t even have the words. We can’t ignore this.
“This is a loss of all humanity and terrible harm to helpless people. We have to act immediately to prevent these things,” he said.
According to Channel 2, Neot Kipat Hazahav had received a high score in a nursing review by the ministry a year ago. Litzman accepted that his ministry’s oversight of the country’s old age homes has been deficient.
“We need to be grateful for the report. It is clear that the Health Ministry is part of the problem,” he said.
Among the measures under consideration are the installation of surveillance cameras in residents’ rooms to better monitor the care they receive.
Litzman — who barred Neot Kipat Hazahav from taking in new residents until further notice — said his ministry was also mulling shutting down the facility altogether.
In the wake of the report, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was “outraged” by the documented abuse, and called on the Health ministry and police to “deal with the abusers to the fullest extent of the law and to ensure that these events do not recur.”