Middle East

Israel boy, 14, 'kept at home since birth'

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A 14-year-old boy who had been kept at home, reportedly since birth, by his parents in Israel has been freed and taken into care, police say.

Army radio said the boy had told police he was taken out into the building's courtyard in Hadera once or twice a month, generally at night.

He was also sometimes kept in a makeshift cage outside the apartment.

The parents, who have been arrested, say they acted out of concern for the boy's health.

Some residents had complained to the local municipality about the smell from the apartment.

One resident told army radio he had alerted the authorities after seeing the boy "like a zombie in a horror film" through a window.

"I saw his eyes and the way he looked, which said 'help me'. So I decided to do something," Chiko Waknin said.

The parents, originally from Russia and said to be aged around 60, moved to Hadera, north of Tel Aviv, in 2009 but did not tell the local authorities that they had a child and did not register him for school.

A lawyer for the mother was quoted by local media as saying they had wanted to "protect the boy who had health problems".

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