A group of radical ultra-Orthodox attendees at a funeral for a 1-month old baby who drowned in a hotel Jacuzzi snatched the infant’s body from the ambulance during the procession, shouting that the volunteer medics transporting the body were “Zionists.”
A statement from the Zaka emergency service, which was transporting the body, said one of its medics was beaten by the mob which thrust open the ambulance door, grabbed the body and placed it in an alternative car which then brought the baby to the burial grounds.
The radical Haredim were believe to have bitterly opposed Zaka’s cooperation with Israeli authorities who performed an autopsy on the infant after suspecting foul play in his death.
The baby drowned while the family, from the city of Beit Shemesh near Jerusalem, was vacationing in a hotel in the coastal city of Ashdod during the Passover holiday.
Paramedics said they attempted to resuscitate the infant and rushed him to the city’s Assuta Medical Center, but medical staff were unable to save his life.
The baby’s parents have been detained as suspects in the death and have had their remand extended. The mother is suspected of criminal wrongdoing, while the father is reportedly suspected of obstructing justice.
On Wednesday, the High Court of Justice authorized an autopsy on the body of the baby, rejecting the family’s petition against the procedure.
The autopsy was performed in the presence of a doctor picked by the family at the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute after the court accepted the police request for a post-mortem examination.
Handing down the decision, the justices said that although they respected the religious sensitivities of the family, they felt they had no choice but to deny their petition.
Jewish tradition generally opposes autopsies on the grounds that the body is sacred and should not be tampered with after death.
The court also extended a gag order on additional details of the case to protect the baby’s parents as well as their seven-year-old son.
On Monday night, ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem and Ashdod protested the investigation and the possible autopsy, temporarily blocking traffic and the light rail system and clashing with police. There were further demonstrations in Jerusalem on Tuesday and Wednesday.