Man lying in a hospital bed at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem [illustrative]..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The Ramle Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday gave an unusually light sentence of six months community service to Yehuda Peretz for stealing items from dead persons.
Peretz was previously convicted of two counts of stealing from dead persons in his capacity as part of a private company that supplements Magen David Adom’s work in clearing corpses by ambulance when MDA is unavailable.
The corpses are then brought to a hospital, morgue or prepared for burial depending on the circumstances.
Another defendant and member of the team, Mishel Nakal, also stands accused of a series of similar theft from dead persons crimes, but has not cut a deal or received a court verdict to date.
On March 2, 2014 at 10:25 p.m., Peretz and his team were called to clear the corpse of recently diseased Yosef Moshovitz in Rishon Lezion.
According to Peretz’s admissions, Nakal, in coordination with Peretz, stripped Moshovitz of his wedding ring before even loading the body, later sold the ring and paid Peretz NIS 40.
In another incident, on February 8, 2014 in the early morning, the team was called to clear the corpse of recently diseased Nir Gadon in Jerusalem.
The team placed Gadon’s body in the ambulance and Peretz drove the ambulance while Nakal accompanied the body.
According to Peretz’s admissions, Nakal, in coordination with him, stole NIS 150 from Gadon’s wallet and stole his Iphone 5.
Later, Nakal sold the Iphone and gave Peretz NIS 1000 from the Iphone sale and another NIS 75 from stolen money from Gadon’s wallet.
Many cases of theft where a court and social worker view an offender as having committed an unusual crime which suggests they have basic issues with distinguishing right from wrong lead to prison time or forced hospitalization.
However, the court ultimately adopted the social worker’s overall opinion to sentence Peretz to community service instead of prison time.
In explaining its decision, the court quoted the social worker as saying that Peretz was “not a man whose general mold or root values were criminal,” while also noting that the social worker said that Peretz “lacked the ability to establish clear internal” moral boundaries.
It also noted the social worker’s opinion that putting Peretz in jail would be a tremendous hardship on his wife and children since he was the main income earner.
Overall, despite the seriousness of Peretz’s crime, which the court said showed substantial deviation from normal behavior and lack of respect for the bodies and possessions of the deceased, it adopted the social worker’s recommendation to give Peretz six months community service instead of six months in prison.