The body of a woman in her 20s, which had been snatched by a group of haredi men after it was discovered in the capital’s Mea She’arim neighborhood, was returned to police after an agreement was reached between the two sides, Jerusalem Police announced late Wednesday night.
Around 7:30 Wednesday evening, Magen David Adom paramedics responded to a call from Rehov Rabbeinu Gershom, where the woman’s body was found inside an abandoned building. She was declared dead at the scene.
When a police unit arrived to investigate, a crowd of haredi men started to congregate and, according to a police spokesman, began attacking officers, throwing rocks and vandalizing a police cruiser.
During the melee, a number of haredi men made off with the corpse, apparently in an effort to prevent an autopsy, which is generally forbidden by Jewish law.
Upwards of 200 officers were then deployed to the neighborhood and began carrying out a house-to-house search for the body. According to a police spokesman, some 40 homes were checked, as rock-throwing and other disturbances continued.
Police responded with stun grenades to break up the mob. Eight officers were injured, and a police car and two motorcycles sustained damaged.
After hours of searching, however, police were still unable to locate the corpse, and approached members of the Eda Haredit, which holds considerable sway in the capital’s haredi neighborhoods, in an effort to reach a compromise.
After assurances were made that the body would not undergo an autopsy, at about 10:30 p.m. it was transferred, via ZAKA personnel, to a policeman’s home, where a further examination was carried out to try and determine the cause of death.
Police said that no criminal motive was suspected in the woman’s death.