Five employees of a senior citizens’ home in the northern city of Haifa were arrested for physically and emotionally abusing residents, police said Sunday, following a television expose that documented extreme mistreatment.
“Overnight, four workers and a head nurse were arrested in Haifa on suspicion of abusing helpless seniors, assault and threats,” police said.
A Channel 2 report broadcast Saturday showed workers during the night shift at the Neot Kipat Hazahav old age home brutally punching residents and violently shaking them in order to force them to go to sleep.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was “outraged” by the report.
“I was outraged to see these things, this abuse of the elderly,” he said speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting. “This goes against our Jewish values and the basic values of the State of Israel; therefore, I expect the Health Ministry and the law enforcement authorities to deal with the abusers to the fullest extent of the law and to ensure that these events do not recur.”
Police said other workers had also been questioned and evidence has been collected from the home.
The report documented appalling hygienic conditions at Neot Kipat Hazahav, with seniors being forced to sleep on urine-stained mattresses and going days on end without being washed.
The police are expected to request an extension of the suspects’ detention, according to Hebrew media reports.
The footage in the Channel 2 report was provided by a worker at the facility, who documented the abuse over a period of months in order to expose what he described as “things I never imagined even in my nightmares.”
The report alleged that in one case an elderly woman who had refused to eat for two weeks had her feeding and oxygen tubes disconnected for no reason by the night shift staff. She died soon after.
In response to the report, a spokesperson for Neot Kipat Hazahav told Channel 2 that “it is our intention to work [with the families of those abused] in full transparency and coordination, so we can correct the injustice that occurred.”
The spokesperson also said that the facility would set up an internal committee to probe the fatal incident and take a number of steps such as installing cameras to prevent future cases of abuse.