JERUSALEM — Jacob is Indian. He is also an Israeli citizen. His parents immigrated to Israel when he was a very young boy.
When Jacob reached the age of four he started kindergarten. But because his parents spoke their own language at home, his knowledge of Hebrew was weak. This was the cause of a lifetime of persecution by the Israeli education and welfare systems that continues to this day.
For 20 years Jacob has been fighting in the courts for justice and compensation for the abuse he endured in the Israeli education system.
Jacob suffers from muscular dystrophy but the Israeli authorities refuse to carry out a proper diagnosis and describe his physical illness as psychosomatic, or mental disorder.
A “Neanderthal” from a “culturally inferior wasteland”
Jacob has been described by the Israeli authorities as Neanderthal, coming from a cultural wasteland that is genetically inferior to Israeli society. He has also been accused of being a homosexual and told that he needs drugs to overcome his “anti-feminist” views.
Not only has this been told to Jacob and his family to their faces, but it was also documented in the defence papers of an ongoing claim for compensation that has so far lasted for two decades.
This week Jacob lost his appeal but he intends to take the individuals and ministries concerned to the Israeli Supreme Court and also sue them abroad. His lawyer, Hanna Boulas, an Arab Christian lawyer who is appalled by the racist abuse hurled at Jacob, has represented him for free for nearly 20 years.
Jacob wants his story to be told. He asked for an interview, and sent his story as a warning to others.
Jacob comes from a respectable family: his father having a patented invention of his own and his great grandparents worked as architects when India was under British rule.
In his interview, Jacob says:
In India my family was very respected and well educated: my grandfather and my father’s brother were both draftsmen in a British architect company. My great grandfather was an officer in the British army, my grandmother’s father was a senior director of the main post office in Aden, Yemen. My mother’s father was a senior clerk in the main post office of Bombay – examples from more than 100 years back and to this day. Still, they [the Israelis] keep referring openly to my family’s “genetic inferiority” as proof that I was born defective.
Quacks, ignoramuses and sadists
What Jacob didn’t know as a child was that he suffered from a form of muscular dystrophy known as spinal muscular atrophy. There is cognitive evidence to show that children afflicted with this disease are in fact more intellectually advanced than others, and this is true for Jacob.
In their ignorance, Jacob’s Israeli teachers decided that his struggle to climb stairs, which left him breathless and weak, was a mental disorder. He was stigmatised by “psychiatrists” as early as four as a reserved child and this was used to build on for more than 10 years of educational and other system abuse.
Jacob relates his experiences:
At school, not only the kids were very violent and abused me every day, the teacher, Miriam Tzabbar, was truly sadistic and physically abused me: because of the violence I was absent from school many times, and the authorities sent a special officer to warn me and my parents that if I would not go to school every day, my parents would go to prison and I would be sent to an institution for young criminals. She also came with uniformed officers who scared me about life in prison. “Do you really want to see your parents in prison because of you?”
Jacob was to endure his whole schooling being abused. It went as far as him being beaten and even having a flagpole inserted into his backside while the teacher looked on with apathy. The abuse Jacob endured through his education extended to psychiatric tests: enforced hospitalisation, enforced drugs and medication.
Jacob was forced to take the anti-psychotic drugs Ridazin, which the authorities claimed would help him with his “fear of dogs”, and Modal. He suffered every side effect of the drugs, which the authorities claimed were “all in his mind”. Imagine giving drugs of this kind to a child who was yet to be diagnosed with his terminal illness but was showing all the physical symptoms!
Jacob describes his fight against being forced to take medication:
The female family-doctor and every doctor who met me told me “you have nothing” without examining me because they saw the referral letter which said I am “under psychiatric treatment”. They were sure that my complaints were imaginary and shouldn’t be treated seriously.
In the summer of 1993 Jacob was sent to a secure mental hospital as a result of the side effects of the drug Modal. A “diagnosis” committee determined that his inability to climb stairs was “a bad mental condition”, and this was signed off by two “psychologists” and a “psychiatrist”.
Jacob spent 10 years being passed around institutions and was threatened that if he didn’t comply his parents would be punished by the state. He was determined to get his education despite all the beatings and emotional abuse. By the end of his schooling, with help from a few good people, he emerged with 85 per cent on his grades.
When in 1994 Jacob was eventually diagnosed properly, his teachers still refused to accept his medical condition. This is how he describes his school’s response to his diagnosis:
In the beginning of 1995 I got an appointment with the school counsellor. She was very hostile to me, refused to believe that I suffer from a physical disease. She smiled and kept irritatingly nodding her head and saying: “No, no, no, you don’t understand. Don’t speak about physical problems, I am asking about your mental condition.”
Punishing the victim
Jacob is an extraordinary man. He is a fighter, refusing to be beaten by his disease, and more so, refusing to lie down and die, which he believes the authorities would like.
He can walk only a short distance and needs constant care, yet he refuses to die without justice. He says:
My case discloses a long chain of severe negligence, failures and corruption in the education establishment of Israel, while the leading policy dealing with violence, even today in 2017, is still that when a group of kids abuse and beat up one specific child, the system will do everything possible to punish, slander and throw the victim out of the system, not the perpetrators, as a senior educational psychologist, Dr Menachem Ophir, clearly told to me. That is exactly what explains so well the false diagnoses, misleading presumptions and the harassment by the authorities against me and my parents.
They were looking only for retrospective excuses for the question why I’ve been so many years in therapeutic institutions while they found nothing real against me. They even suggest something about suspicion of homosexuality, which was never even close to reality.
Jacob is by no means the only child abused in the system. Stories are abound of children who are drugged in institutions to “correct their mental attitudes”, children who have no diseases but are separated from their parents, children who simply are pining and yearning to go home.
Jacob, his family and his lawyer are having to fight the institutional perjury in the courts. Here are some examples of the lies put out by Israeli institutions to smear him and his family
Lie: “As a child, Jacob was the victim of sexual abuse by his grandmother and grandfather.
Fact: Jacob never knew his grandfather, who died when his own father was seven years old.
Lie: “Yakov was behaviourally disturbed in school and was yelling in the class very hateful remarks against women, Jews and Israel.”
Fact: Every teacher described Jacob always as too quiet, too shy, introverted and a gentle kid. But one of his teachers, Soffy Katz, a divorced feminist, spread falsehoods about Jacob, for example by telling Jacob in front of everybody, including psychiatrists:”You are against feminism because you have a problem in your brain.” She even claimed that drugs would resolve his views about feminism!
What child would not suffer emotionally or mentally? Yet Jacob has a host of friends and a dedicated lawyer fighting for him. Once his case reaches the international arena, it remains to be seen how so many experts testifying for him can be ignored.
Here is an example from Jacob’s lawsuit (in Hebrew).
Many elements of Jacob’s story are similar to those of numerous other parents and children in Israel: children being medicated against their will with strong psychotropic drugs; ignoring physical conditions or illnesses, which in many instances are caused by the side effects of drugs; enforced incarceration in mental hospitals when the child is intellectually proven to be fit.
As with many victims, Jacob tried to get his story told on Israeli mainstream media. Most of these stories are stopped at the last minute by the authorities.
What is special about Jacob’s case is that he can prove the lies and misinformation about him. Yet, he cannot get justice.
Jacob needs help to file a lawsuit overseas for racism and abuse as his remedies in Israel are almost exhausted. Just as the Ethiopians are fighting to overcome racism, Jacob, with his Indian heritage, fights on. (redressonline.com)