Haredi Man Jailed for Causing Death of Infant Son

Yisrael Walz, 21, sentenced to 6 years in prison for death of baby son Raphael in April 2006.

The Jerusalem District Court on Tuesday sentenced a Haredi man to six years in jail for brutally abusing his baby son, eventually causing his death.

Yisrael Walz, 21, was arrested in April 2006 when his son, Raphael, died in hospital a week after he was brought unconscious to the intensive care unit. Shortly after his arrest, he admitted to violently abusing his son.

"I lifted him by his arms and shook forcefully," he told police. "His head fluttered everywhere. I also smashed him on his bed once."

As the reasons for the abuse, Walz cited the baby's "nonstop" crying, a "revolting" inborn defect he suffered from, and the long hours of absence of his working wife.

Upon his arrest, Walz was given the full and uncompromising support of the ultra-Orthodox community of Jerusalem. Demonstrations were held by groups of Haredim, and some were detained on charges of disrupting the peace.

A Jerusalem police officer said that the baby sustained cerebral hemorrhage, edema and bruises, in places which corresponded to the father's testimony.

Walz was also sentenced to two years of suspended sentence.