Moshe Mizrahi, the 4-month-old grandson of Beit Shemesh’s haredi mayor Rabbi Moshe Abutbol, was buried Thursday night – but not before his body was autopsied against the wishes of his family and the haredi community.
Above: police detaining haredi rioters in Jerusalem 1-7-2016
High Court Orders Baby's Immediate “Limited” Autopsy Despite Haredi Riots
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Moshe Mizrahi, the 4-month-old grandson of Beit Shemesh’s haredi mayor Rabbi Moshe Abutbol, was buried Thursday night – but not before his body was autopsied against the wishes of his family and the haredi community, the Times of Israel reported.
The baby died early Thursday morning after spending 10 days in Hadassah Hospital with a major head trauma.
Israel's High Court of Justice ordered a full autopsy Thursday morning in order to definitively determine the baby’s cause of death, sparking haredi riots in Jerusalem and in Beit Shemesh. Thirteen haredi rioters were arrested, 10 in Jerusalem and three in Beit Shemesh.
ZAKA, the haredi volunteer search, rescue first responder and EMT group, then tried to broker a compromise in which an MRI scan could be used to replace the autopsy. But apparently the MRI results were not definitive, and Thursday night the High Court ordered an autopsy – albeit a limited one – take place.
Following that second High Court ruling, haredim rioted again in Beit Shemesh, burning garbage dumpsters and blocking roads.
The caregiver at the baby’s daycare center was placed under house arrest last week. She was released Wednesday on the condition she stays away from the daycare center denies any connection to the tragedy.
Earlier reports in the haredi media said the woman had admitted to shaking the baby in order to wake him.
However, she also reportedly told police that as she changed the baby’s diaper he flipped over for the first time in his life and fell.
Then, during a later conversation with police investigators the caregiver reportedly said the baby was sick before the incident happened.
“He was accepted into the kindergarten one-and-a-half months ago. He was a lovely child. On the day of the incident, he had a slight temperature and his father took him from the kindergarten to the doctor, who decided to send him back to the kindergarten. He went to sleep and woke up groggy,” the caregiver, who denies doing anything to cause the baby’s death, said.
Her attorney Yehuda Shoshan said the child returned to daycare center “drowsy.” When he woke up from a nap later, he was on the “verge of exhaustion.” The baby’s eyes were drooping, Shoshan said, and he did not communicate with his environment.
The caregiver tried everything possible to get him to respond to her, similar to what one might do if someone had lost consciousness or fainted, Shoshan said. When that did not work, she called an ambulance.
Shoshan said allegations his client contributed to the baby’s death or directly caused it were tenuous and unproven.
“On the contrary, at present, the investigation is tending towards the fact that the child arrived in a medical state that was not good; or was born with something, with some kind of defect; or that he got sick from an illness;” Shoshan said.
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 many 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.
The results of the autopsy have not yet been made public.