Israeli police said they freed a 14-year-old boy on Thursday who had been kept at home by his parents ever since his birth.
Social services in the town of Hadera, north of Tel Aviv, had called in the police after they were alerted by a neighbor of the family. Police arrested the parents, aged around 60, and handed over the boy to social services for medical care.
The neighbor, Chiko Waknin, told army radio that he had seen the boy through a window looking “like a zombie in a horror film”.
“His eyes seemed to be saying, ‘Help me’, so I decided I had to do something,” said the neighbor, adding that the home was in a “dilapidated” state and emitted an “unbearable smell”. The parents are Russian-speakers and hardly know any Hebrew, he said.
Their lawyer Dan Guilad, quoted by Israeli media, said they had been trying “to protect their son who suffers from health problems”.
Radio reports said the child had told police he was allowed to go out into the courtyard of his apartment building twice a month accompanied by his parents, mostly at night.