Eilat daycare operator indicted on over 400 counts of child abuse

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Prosecutors on Wednesday filed an indictment with over 400 counts against a daycare teacher in Eilat for abusing

Ilana Kovar, 63, is accused of abusing 23 of the 26 children at the daycare she operated in the Red Sea coastal city, whose ages range from 9 months to 3.5 years old. Prosecutors also charged she was guilty of mental abuse, as all the children “were exposed to her unrelenting violence.”

The indictment includes 26 counts of abusing a minor or helpless person and 380 counts of assaulting a minor or helpless person by a guardian.

According to the charge sheet, the abuse included yanking out a chair from under a boy standing on it, toppling him to the floor; kicking a toddler in the head; pulling children by their mouths and hair; and encouraging some to act violently toward their peers.

It also accused Kovar of going out of her way to act violently, saying she would approach children with the express purpose of attacking them.

“In all of the cases Kovar caused significant pain to the toddlers and babies she assaulted, who broke out crying and Kovar left them to cry,” prosecutors said.

They asked that Kovar remain in custody and submitted a forfeiture request for the property where the daycare is housed.

Last week, Kovar was arrested as prosecutors informed the Eilat Magistrate’s Court they intended to file charges and police showed parents of the children under her supervision footage of the various incidents of abuse.

Israel has seen several high-profile cases in which employees at private daycares have been caught on film abusing children, sparking widespread anger and leading to calls for greater oversight.

Most notoriously, Carmel Mauda, the head of the Baby Love daycare in Rosh Ha’ayin, was sentenced in 2021 to 9.5 years in prison. Mauda was arrested after graphic footage showed her and others abusing children as young as three months old, leading to large protests. An arsonist later set fire to the Rosh Ha’ayin building that housed the daycare and Mauda’s home.

In 2019, a daycare center attendant was sentenced to 17 years in prison for smothering to death an 18-month-old girl under her care.

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