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Father arrested after 5-year-old found walking alone in Jerusalem cold

Boy turned over to grandmother after spotted by social worker in Mea Shearim; group, including father, scuffles with police to keep child from being taken

Police officers during a raid in the ultra orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Mea Shearim, Jerusalem, April 20, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Illustrative: Police officers during a raid in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Mea She'arim, Jerusalem, April 20, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A half-clothed 5-year-old boy was found wandering a Jerusalem street alone on Monday afternoon, police said.

The boy’s father is suspected of negligence and neglect. He and two others were arrested after trying to stop police from taking the child for a welfare check.

A social worker called police after spotting the boy walking near the ultra-Orthodox Mea She’arim neighborhood alone with signs of physical abuse, according to a police statement.

Officials later said that red marks on the child’s body were likely an allergic reaction to the cold air on his exposed limbs. Temperatures in Jerusalem topped out at 7º C (44º F) Monday, accompanied by rain and strong winds.

During the incident, a crowd of ultra-Orthodox men — which included the child’s father — surrounded the officers and Magen David Adom paramedics and attempted to prevent them from taking the boy away, police said.

Video of the incident shows a crowd chasing the police officers as they carry the child to a police car. The father and two others were arrested in the scuffle and charged with attacking officers.

Police said that the child was brought to a local police station with his grandmother to undergo a medical check, and that warm clothes had been purchased for the child. Welfare authorities in the city were also contacted about the case.

Officials later said that the boy was released into the care of his grandmother.

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