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Former Holon kindergarten workers convicted of abusing 26 toddlers in daycare ‘hell’

2 women found guilty of physically abusing children aged 2-3, slapping, kicking and dragging them by arms and legs; ‘They destroyed their souls,’ says one mother

Parents of children abused in a Holon daycare center sit behind the two accused former daycare employees at the District Court in Tel Aviv, July 20, 2022 (Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Parents of children abused in a Holon daycare center sit behind the two accused former daycare employees at the District Court in Tel Aviv, July 20, 2022 (Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Two former daycare workers were convicted Wednesday of a raft of charges relating to the abuse of 26 toddlers over a two-year period.

CCTV footage discovered in 2020 showed Ortal Binyamin, 27, and Rinat Yanko, 50, committing various acts of abuse against children in a Holon childcare facility.

Binyamin was convicted of nine counts of abuse and 36 counts of assault.

Yanko was convicted of three counts of abuse and 29 counts of assault.

Parents of the abused children attended Wednesday’s hearing, meeting the two childcare workers as they entered the courtroom with a volley of angry yelling.

“Do you want to get out of here? Is it not nice for you here? It also wasn’t nice for our children to be in your hell for nine hours a day,” shouted one parent.

In the CCTV footage, Binyamin and Yanko can be seen throwing children onto mattresses, often pulling them by their arms or legs to do so. They also slapped and kicked the children, who were all aged two to three.

Former Holon kindergarten teachers accused of assaulting toddlers in the kindergarten where they worked, arrive for a court hearing at the District Court in Tel Aviv, July 20, 2022 (Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

According to the prosecution, the two workers fostered an environment of fear and treated the toddlers as objects.

Eran Carmel, the father of twin toddlers who were under the care of  Binyamin and Yanko, asked them: “Can you look me in the eyes and explain to me why you hit them? What was your problem? There’s no forgiveness for what you did.”

After the hearing, Carmel told Channel 12 that it was difficult for him to watch the videos again in court.

“I couldn’t sit through all the hearings, to watch all the videos and to see again and again what my twins went through… While I had meetings at the office they were going through hell,” he said.

Reading out the verdict, Judge Yosef Tofef brought many of the parents in the Tel Aviv District courtroom to tears as he described the nature of the abuses.

“We are talking about a serious indictment, heartbreaking abuse. I witnessed [in the CCTV footage] difficult, outrageous and inconceivable things,” Tofef said.

Former Holon kindergarten teachers accused of assaulting toddlers in the kindergarten where they worked at the District Court in Tel Aviv, July 20, 2022 (Photo by Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Commenting after the conviction, the mother of one of the abused children, Gal Levi, said that every child in the daycare was abused by the pair.

“They destroyed their souls. They hurt my daughter every day. She is now defined as having a 50% disability due to posttraumatic stress disorder,” Levi said.

Chen Kovetz Cohen, whose grassroots organization seeks to support the parents of child abuse victims, praised the outcome of the trial.

“For two years we guided the parents through this ordeal. The scope of the [daycare workers’] actions is inconceivable. The children went through hell in that childcare, and you can hear this in the words of the judge,” she said.

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