Supreme Court orders baby killer to begin jail term

Israel's highest court turns down appeal by young haredi father to delay start of six-year sentence pending appeal.

Valis 248.88 (photo credit: Channel 2)
Valis 248.88
(photo credit: Channel 2)
The Supreme Court has rejected a petition by a 22-year-old man who brutally beat his three-month-old infant to death, to delay the start of his jail sentence pending his appeal. Yisrael Valis, who was sentenced by the Jerusalem District Court last month to six years in jail, will now begin serving his prison term as scheduled on January 4, even as the appeal is heard. "The severity of the crime and its circumstances tip the scales in favor of immediately carrying out the sentencing in accordance with the public interest," Justice Yoram Danziger wrote in his ruling. "The personal circumstances of the appellant create empathy, but are not sufficient in and of themselves," he added. Valis was previously found guilty of manslaughter for repeatedly biting, beating, pinching and punching the baby since the child was born, because he "did not accept him" due to a congenital defect in the child's neck muscles. Valis was arrested two years ago after he admitted, during police questioning, to repeatedly beating his child. Jerusalem District Court Judge Hanna Ben-Ami noted in her ruling that Valis had expressed no remorse whatsoever for his actions since the beginning of the case. At the same time, the court found that Valis had not intended to kill his son, and that his actions had stemmed from recklessness. As such, the court saw fit to exercise leniency in its ruling, despite the severity of the crime. The prosecution had praised the sentencing as befitting the crime, while the defense and Valis's family members criticized it as overly harsh. The defense is appealing the sentence. The young father's 2006 arrest led to days of haredi rioting in Jerusalem, after leaders of the anti-Zionist Eda Haredit community - of which the Valis family is a part - accused police of concocting a "blood libel" identical to European blood libels against the Jews. The baby died in a Jerusalem hospital, a week after his father hurled him against the wall when he started to cry.