Updated 1:27 pm CST
Updated: Haredim Riot And Stone Police Over Baby's Autopsy
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Haredim rioted, screamed "Nazis!" at police, stoned police, and set garbage dumpsters on fire in Jerusalem today to protest a state-ordered autopsy of a four-month-old baby, the Times of Israel reported.
The baby, Moshe Mizrahi, is the grandchild of the haredi mayor of Beit Shemesh, Rabbi Moshe Abutbol. He died overnight in Hadassah Hospital where he had been hospitalized for a week due to a severe head trauma of unknown origin.
Haredi media reported a caregiver had been detained and then released to house arrest under restrictions. She reportedly admitted to shaking the baby several times, allegedly to wake him up.
Ten arrests of haredi rioters were made by police in Jerusalem and another three in Beit Shemesh, where haredim also rioted, according a report in the Jerusalem Post.
The Post also reported that the leader of the vehemently anti-Zionist Edah haredi umbrella haredi organization, Rabbi Yitzchok Tuvia Weiss, called on his often violent followers to protest the planned autopsy, sparking the riots.
In response to the riots ZAKA, the largely haredi search, rescue and EMT volunteer first responder organization, arranged for an MRI scan of the baby. If that determines the cause of death, the High Court would then rule again on the necessity of the autopsy, the Post reported.
Because the cause of injury and death is likely criminal child abuse, an autopsy was requested by law enforcement to determine the exact cause fo the injury.
Abutbol’s family opposed the autopsy and appealed the state’s decision to conduct it to the High Court of Justice, which ruled in favor of the state. That prompted haredim to begin rioting.
Halakha (Orthodox Jewish law) prohibits desecration of dead bodies and requires that bodies be buried whole whenever possible. But while halakha provides exemptions from this requirement – for example, in a case where an autopsy could save the life of another person. When law enforcement needs an autopsy to determine if a murder or manslaughter took place, halakha would usually allow the autopsy on the ground that convicting the murderer could easily save the lives of other people.
But in recent decades haredim have hardened their stance and now fight autopsies in almost every case, with some haredi rabbis adopting the position that unless the results of an autopsy will with a high degree of certainty immediately save the life of a person, it cannot be conducted.