The woman, identified only as M., received a lenient sentence in exchange for testifying against Chen and others.
The abuse was so “horrific” that M. seemed to have been under a spell when she let it take place, said Jerusalem District Court Judge Zvi Segal, adding that it was reminiscent of Nazi atrocities.
“The defendant, the mother of eight minor children, abandoned them completely, leaving them in the hands of Chen and those who did his bidding, as though she were under a spell, without any ability to judge or distinguish between right and wrong,” Segal wrote in his ruling.
“While she was apparently emotionally cut off from eight people – all of them flesh of her flesh, helpless minors – a horrific scenario that was completely unbelievable was planned and executed in front of her eyes, and she kept silent. The acts committed against the children express a loss of humanity on the part of their perpetrators.”
M. pleaded guilty to shaking her children, burning them “like they were cheap kindle,” as Segal put it, tying up their hands and feet with rope and plastic ties, and feeding them excrement.
He said he got the impression M. was being honest when she said at the end of her trial that she intends to work hard to restore to herself the title of mother. Segal also took into consideration her testimony against Chen and her children’s request that she not receive a harsh sentence.
The child abuse affair was uncovered two years ago, when one of M.’s children was taken to the hospital unconscious. Once the story became public, Chen fled to Brazil, which extradited him back to Israel. He is now on trial at the Jerusalem District Court.
The child, now 6, is still in a coma.