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Israel is a pedophile's paradise
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The National Council for the Child welcomed the arrest of Avinoam Braverman and called on government ministries to take steps to prevent pedophiles from trapping children on the Web.

"We have been saying for a long time that Israel is a pedophile's paradise and everyone said we were exaggerating," council head Yitzhak Kadman said.

"But we see how this thing happens again and again, and that the safety net for children has more holes than net," he said.

The National Council for the Child wants the government to institute mandatory classes, beginning in elementary school, on how to use the Web safely.

The council wants the Public Security Ministry to institute a "Web guard" of volunteers under the Civil Guard to assist the police in this area, and for the Justice Ministry to impose harsher penalties on online sex offenders.

The Israel Association for Child Protection said the issue comes up frequently in its meetings with parents and children.

The association puts on plays in elementary schools and kindergartens to warn children about online correspondences with strangers, and to teach them to protect their bodies, Dorit Hoffman, deputy director of the association, says.

Hoffman says that before each play they hold an instruction session for the faculty and for parents of kindergarten children on how to respond to children's questions and remarks about the play.

After the police receive a complaint or a report involving a child, child investigators are called in.

Ronit Tzur, the national supervisor of child investigations and special investigations in the youth probations services in the Social Affairs Ministry, says: "We try to get to the children as quickly as possible before others interview them."

Creating a relationship and encouraging the children to tell investigators what happened to them is a slow process, Tzur says.

To get at the truth, investigators ask open questions rather than leading questions, and encourage parents to do the same with their children, Tzur says.

Child investigators will sometimes take the child back to the scene of the incident or have the child draw pictures.

They are authorized to determine the credibility of a child's testimony and testify instead of the child if they believe that the child would be hurt by appearing in court.

By Dana Weiler-Polak,
Haaretz Correspondent

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