State Gives in to Dead Haredi Man's Family, Agrees to Skip Autopsy

Court had initially ruled autopsy must be performed on crash victim, despite opposition from community.

An ultra-Orthodox man from Jerusalem was laid to rest without an autopsy on Thursday, after his community protested for four days against the State Prosecution's original decision to operate on his body to determine the cause of his death.

Kedumim resident David Williger, 26, was killed on Monday when his car was struck by a truck on Highway 6. The prosecution wanted to conduct an autopsy to determine whether the man died in the crash, or from other causes before the accident occurred, as some evidence had indicated.

Willinger's family, however, objected, and ultra-Orthodox rabbis sanctioned a series of protests that eventually led to the post-mortem being shelved.

The prosecution then abandoned its request for the autopsy, despite a Nazareth court ruling on Thursday that would have allowed it. The judge also decided to allow the family time to appeal her ruling before the autopsy could be conducted.

Less than half an hour before a hearing at the High Court, which was requested by the ZAKA rescue organization on behalf of the family, the prosecution withdrew its request and returned Willinger's body to his family.

Based on the warnings of Jerusalem District Police, the prosecution feared that performing the autopsy would lead to widespread protests in the city.

After Willinger's body was returned to his family, Yehuda Meshi Zahav, head of ZAKA, said, "Recently, in every case of unnatural death, the police demand an autopsy, even when there are other ways to determine the cause of death. This delays the burial. It's as if we were talking about an object and not a human being."