Haredi protests against detention of alleged baby killer continue

Demonstrators pelted police and motorists with stones, set garbage bins on fire and blocked traffic.

haredi 88 (photo credit: )
haredi 88
(photo credit: )
For the second day in a row, scores of haredim rioted in Jerusalem's Mea She'arim neighborhood on Friday, in protest over the arrest of a 19-year-old haredi man suspected of beating his infant son to death, police said. The haredi demonstrators pelted police and motorists with stones, set garbage bins on fire and blocked traffic in a major neighborhood thoroughfare, Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said. Five protesters were arrested in similar city disturbances on Thursday night. The suspected baby killer, Yisrael Valis, is facing manslaughter charges for beating his three-month old baby to death. Valis, who allegedly hurled the baby against the wall after he started to cry, is suspected of repeatedly biting, beating, pinching and punching the infant since he was born because he "did not accept him" due to a defect the child was born with in his neck muscles, police said. In an effort to ease tensions, rabbinical sages and the Valis family issued a statement Friday calling on the protesters to refrain from violence and from burning trash on the street. Demonstrators set one garbage bin on fire and blocked traffic in the neighborhood in protests Saturday night, police said. Extremist elements in the haredi community previously threatened to riot and to "make Jerusalem burn" if the suspected baby killer was not released from custody, even though police said he admitted beating his child. Jerusalem Municipality spokesman Gidi Schmerling said Saturday that the haredi riots over the last week have caused NIS 140,000 in damage, including the destruction of 30 city garbage bins.