The kidnapping of a two-year-old girl from Meah Shearim by
two mentally unbalanced women on Shabbos night ended
bechasdei Hashem with the child being found unharmed
on Shabbos morning in the Givat Shaul neighborhood. Hundreds
of policemen, volunteers, scouts and search dogs had joined
all-night Shabbos search efforts with the guidance of
The drama began Shabbos night. A two-year-old girl took a
walk with her mother and brothers near Kikar Shabbos after
candlelighting. The mother suddenly noticed that her
daughter was missing and began to search for her. When the
father returned home from shul, the parents looked
for her at home and along Strauss Street, but to no
The father went to the Russian Compound and asked the police
to help search for his daughter. Police tried to locate her
near her home, but she wasn't found. At midnight, the police
asked the ZAKA organization to assist them in their search.
One of the top-ranking members of ZAKA asked an halachic
authority for guidelines for conducting the search. Due to
the child's age and the sensitive security situation serious
misgivings regarding her life were raised, and at the
directives of the halachic authority, extensive searches
Two special command posts were set up, one in the Russian
Compound police headquarters, the other near the Histadrut
building on Strauss Street. Police operations was directed
by Deputy Inspector General Ilan Franco, deputy commander of
the Jerusalem Police. He was aided by hundreds of ZAKA
volunteers and many residents from surrounding
At a certain stage, a helicopter was launched. However, its
search was unsuccessful. Hundreds of volunteers searched the
streets, calling out to the child by name with loudspeakers.
Area buildings were searched from top to bottom. Garbage
bins were opened, and every nook and cranny was inspected.
However the little girl still wasn't found.
Loudspeakers broadcast the message throughout Jerusalem,
even as far as Givat Shaul. Geula took on an almost-weekday
"It was moving to see chareidi Jews calling the girl with
loudspeakers on Shabbos night. Everyone was motivated by a
feeling of responsibility for the child's welfare, and
followed the halachic guidelines of pikuach nefesh on
Shabbos," one of the volunteers said.
Throughout the search, pedestrians in Geula were asked to
come forward with testimony. One woman related that in the
evening, she had seen a girl in the hands of an older woman.
She said: "The child bitterly cried, `Ima,' but I didn't
attach any significant to her cries, because it is a common
to see a child calling out `Ima' even when his own mother is
holding him." Additional testimonies were presented, and
fears mounted that the child had been kidnapped.
All of the free kitchens in the area were scanned, but no
trace of the little girl was evident. With the help of
hundreds of volunteers, police hounds scavenged garbage bins
and dark corners of neighborhood streets. But she still
The story neared its end at 10 AM the next morning in the
Zupnick synagogue in Givat Shaul, where one of the women in
the ezras noshim spotted a peculiar woman, whom she
recognized from the Kosel. The woman was feeding a small
child pieces of bread and giving her milk using a bottle
cap. All this seemed very strange to the Givat Shaul
resident, who knew that the woman was mentally unbalanced
and didn't seem to be the mother of a two-year-old child.
At that moment, the car of a chesed organization
drove through Givat Shaul, calling to its residents to
search for the child. The strange woman asked what they were
saying, and when she was told that they were looking for a
little girl, she began to flee, along with her twenty-two
year old daughter, both of whom are apparently mentally
In the wake of their flight, the women in the ezras
noshim screamed to people to stop the woman with the
child. A ZAKA volunteer passing the synagogue heard the
shouts and the cries for help and stopped the strange woman.
Police were summoned. At first, the policeman claimed that
the little girl did not suit the description the parents had
given. That was because the woman had changed the child's
clothing. Nonetheless, the woman, her daughter and the child
were taken to the Russian Compound for investigation. A
short while later, all breathed a sigh of relief when the
child ran toward her parents, who had been anxiously
awaiting for her for so long. Within minutes, volunteers
were notified that the child had been found unharmed, and
that they could call off their search.
At the inquiry, the two women said that they had found the
child on the street and had taken care of her all night.
However, Police investigations indicate that the two had
kidnapped the child at 8:30 on Shabbos night on Strauss
Street, taking her from there her to an area free kitchen
where they gave her food. After that, they returned home. In
the morning, they took the child to shul.
The parents thanked the many volunteers and heads of ZAKA
who had quickly coordinated the extensive search, following
all the halachic guidelines such a situation entails.
Only a week ago, ZAKA held a special shiur on
hilchos Shabbos. During the shiur, practical
questions were discussed pertaining to volunteer activity in
events requiring chilul Shabbos for purpose of
pikuach nefesh. ZAKA volunteers will soon receive a
pamphlet with practical questions and answers in this area.
Many of these points are based on lessons derived from