Take a confessed killer, an angry community convinced of his innocence and a dead young boy and what do you get?
Cries of blood libel, conspiracy and threats to burn a city down. And a story that will make you shake your head in disgust.
Three month old son of Yisrael Valis died yesterday in a clinic in Jerusalem. When the baby was admitted, he was suffering from brain hemorrhaging, edema, signs of violence and bites on his body. According to Aliza Aroch, head of the Jerusalem Police family violence team:
When we visited the baby we saw he had bite marks on his neck and a black eye. He had many blue marks on his body, matching the father’s descriptions of the violence
Bites on his body, you ask?
Yisrael, 19, was taken into custody on account of marks found on the baby. At first, he claimed that the infant had fallen to the ground. No one was convinced [except his neighbours: see below]: let’s not forget about the bites on his body!
Second time around, Yisrael confessed to frequently hitting the baby, slamming it against the wall and, you guessed it, biting the poor child on the neck. To make things worse, Valis apparently told police that the cause of the violence was revulsion towards his son’s condition: the poor baby suffered a physical defect in his neck muscles. That and the unfortunate fact that the baby’s crying prevented his beauty sleep.
This is a sad story, but it takes a strange turn. The hareidi community refused to accept Vales’ own admission of guilt, or at least htat it was made under proper circumstances. Flyers have been distributed in the community threatening riots unless Valis is released by Pesach. Ha’aretz paraphrases the flyers as follows:
“Unite and protest against this blood libel” and declares the arrest to be an “evil conspiracy” devised by the “evil regime” against the “dear gentle young man.”
Hareidi radio station Kol Hai quoted sources that said ‘Jerusalem will burn’ in return for the arrest.
Another phrase thrown around (in hebrew) was ‘blood libel’. According to Rabbi Yitzhak Weiss, halachic authority and leader of the Eda Haredit claimed the arrest is:
identical to the blood libels concocted by the evil Europeans against Jews before Pessah.
Apparently the hareidim are sticking with Vales’ first story: the baby fell and it was an accident, Valis’ confession notwithstanding. Enjoy your seders, Hareidim. The tooth-marked, so-far unnamed baby of Yisrael Valis certainly won’t. And perhaps we can take a lesson from this tragic incident: don’t be fruitful and multiply before you are ready for either.
Thanks to Ha’aretz and Jpost for a sad story. And hat tip to Mobius over at Jewschool for blogging about it first. Muffti is the first to admit that the whole hareidi community may not be behind this: can any of our israeli correspondants in Jerusalem help fill out the story?