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?

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  • 🙂 Ridiculous. I have no idea if this is true or not.

    Lets see if the city burns – you couldn’t wait to see before blogging about this nonsense? Anything to knock those who you disagree with-it must be a slow news day.

    Its either you or Michael or Mobius or some other character. Do you feel so unsure of yourselves and so threatened that you have to grab at any rumor or report mostly third party ‘analysis’ that knocks your adversaries?

  • Am I one of these ” israeli correspondents”?

    I don’t know how much of the story I can help full out. what can you possibly say? It’s positively awful what happened and this kid should serve serious time for his crimes.

    Ideally the haredi community would learn the lesson from this that something good would come from it, like preparing young couples better for being parents. But that’s probably wishful thinking.

  • Joe, take it easy! Did you not see the all important final line:

    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?


  • The chareidim have been rioting and disrupting the city and the chag for everyone–in order to “show support” for an admitted child murderer who thought it was okay to brutally attack his own child because the baby had a neck injury and was keeping him awake. Why shouldn’t this be shared here or anywhere else?!

  • Not only should it be shared, it should be screamed at very loudly. For some reason, I think people are reluctant to discuss this because it is so shameful.

  • who is reluctant to discuss this? the chareidim? they are convinced that this Vales guy is a “gentle” soul who loves children and would never do what the evil state of Israel says he did. Poor guy must have had a confession tortured out of him. his wife has come out in his defense twice, that i have heard of. Hashem wanted it this way is more of less what she said. The forensic evidence speaks for itself, and Vales’s confession is corroborated by that evidence. As far as I’m concerned, this guy is a beast, and I hope he is put away for life and never allowed near another child. The fact remains, however, that this type of thing also happens in secular Israeli society and in American society, and everywhere else in the world. The charedim are just embarrassing themselves and the rest of Israel and further antagonizing people like me who can barely stand them as it is by condoning this astounding act of cruelty.

  • The one thing that bothers me is this blanket “charedim”. To be honest I do NOT know the details of this incident but I assure you that there two (perhaps three) relatively small fringe groups that are leading/inciting this “protest”. The vast majority of the so-called “Ultra-Orthodox” community are in no way involved and probably revolted by it all.

    Finally, you seem to be totally oblivious to the seventy year old cultural war the secular establishment has fought against the religious community … with so much pent up animosity, any excuse to lash out is exploited, even when (as possibly in this case) it is not justified. But it took two to tango to create this fractured division.

  • Thank you Yoel for bringing in some badly needed nuance to a topic that we often portray in a one sided manner.

  • This happens in Haradi Communities in the U.S. as well. Because religious beliefs prohibit autopsy, the Coroner’s office needs overwhelming evidence to perform one to prove abuse or “Shaken Baby Syndrome”. Usually it is declared “Sudden Infant Death” and dismissed. During my divorce I personally witnessed memebers of the Chasidic community protesting in the State Court house in Paterson with signs that said “put the baby in the ground”.