The haredi man who admitted to killing his disabled infant son may be released to house arrest because he no longer poses a threat to anyone, because the 3 month old boy is already dead. Ha’aretz reports:
The parole service will recommend releasing Yisrael Vales, the 19-year-old ultra-Orthodox man accused of killing his three-month-old son a month ago.
A parole review prepared at the request of the Jerusalem district prosecutor’s office will be submitted to the Jerusalem District Court at Vales’ remand extension hearing Tuesday morning.
Prosecution sources said Monday night they had yet to finalize their position on releasing Vales from custody. An effort apparently will be made to find an arrangement that will enable his delivery into the custody of individuals who will vouch for him.
Vales was indicted two weeks ago on manslaughter charges. The indictment, which initially included charges of abusing a minor, assaulting a minor, and causing grievous bodily harm, was amended after the baby died of injuries at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem.
Just hours after he was arrested at the hospital, Vales admitted to ongoing abuse of his baby son, Yitzhak Shmuel. The baby was rushed to the hospital at the beginning of this month unconscious and suffering from cerebral and eye hemorrhages, and died several days later.
Vales gave interrogators three reasons for the abuse: the baby’s ceaseless crying, anger at his wife for working nights at a clothing store and disgust at his son’s congenital muscular torticollis, a deformity of the neck.
Vales detailed the abuse in a written police statement made public on Monday on Channel 10 news. He admitted to bashing the baby against the wall, punching and slapping him, pinching his neck and chest, and biting him on the neck.
Vales said he began abusing the baby about two weeks before the final incident. He denied any abuse of his wife, but admitted that he slapped her occasionally.
After Vales’ arrest, ultra-Orthodox groups mounted violent demonstrations in Jerusalem in an effort to secure his release.
The Jerusalem district attorney, Eli Abarbanel, met with ultra-Orthodox representatives Sunday to discuss the matter.
A previously scheduled meeting was canceled due to the violent protests. The prosecution stressed there were no negotiations over Vales’ release, and the purpose of the meeting was simply to listen to the Haredi representatives who had requested it.
The prosecution announced that its position on releasing Vales would be determined according to standard procedure and after receiving a custody review from the parole service, but sources were in no hurry to join the parole service’s recommendation last night.
The review deals with the question of whether Vales is dangerous, and concludes that he no longer poses a threat to anyone.
Haredim rally in capital
An ultra-Orthodox group Monday evening demonstrated opposite the Russian Compound police facility in Jerusalem, where Vales is being held.
The demonstration’s organizers, members of the Atra Kadisha organization, protested the intention to release Vales under certain restrictions, demanding that all proceedings against him be dropped.
Vales’ family said in response that “the demonstration is superfluous.”
According to understandings reached prior to today’s court hearing, Vales would remain under house arrest at his grandmother’s home in the Mea She’arim neighborhood.
Vales was visited in jail Monday by his wife’s brother-in-law, Zvi Eisenstein, who has been serving as spokesman for the family.
Eisenstein said that Vales requested that there be no celebrations in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Mea She’arim after his anticipated release Tuesday, because he and his wife are still in mourning for their son.
It is true Vales release poses no apparent threat to any individual – but I believe that release does pose a threat to Israeli society as a whole.
Vales clearly viewed his infant son as not fully human. I believe that if the baby had not been disabled, few, if any, haredi rabbis would be supporting Vales. But because the baby was disabled, and because the baby’s future as a student of Torah did not appear to be bright (and perhaps it was not even possible), Vales’ crime is cheapened in their eyes.
A man who admits to murdering a defenseless infant, especially an infant whose disability “disgusted” the murderer, should not walk free. Yet it appears Vales will be released to the comfort of his grandmother’s home.
Tonight is Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. The first step in Hitler’s genocide was taken against mentally and physically “defective” people – people like the Vales infant.
Yisroel Vales should not walk free.