A couple have been remanded in custody after their month-old baby drowned in a hotel jacuzzi in the southern city of Ashdod on Monday.
The Ashkelon Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday extended the father’s detention for a further six days. The mother, who is suspected of criminal wrongdoing, was also kept in custody.
The court also agreed to a police request to perform an autopsy on the baby. However, the judge ordered a 24-hour delay in order to allow the family, who are opposed to it for religious reasons, to appeal to a higher court.
Some 200 ultra-Orthodox protesters attempted to close an intersection in the heart of Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim neighborhood in protest of the autopsy, which is forbidden in most cases by Jewish law.
“A few dozen extremist ultra-Orthodox are rioting and blocking the Kikar Shabbat [intersection] over a police investigation into the death of a toddler in the south of Israel,” police said in a statement. “Police officers in the area are working to keep traffic flowing and to restore public order.”
At least five people were reported arrested.
A bus driver angered by the protests was documented by Hadashot news walking off his bus armed with an M16 rifle, which he brandished at the demonstrators. After quickly placing the weapon back in the vehicle, he clashed with the protesters who huddled around the bus.
The mother has claimed the baby slipped from her arms while she was bathing him in the family’s room in the Miami Hotel in Ashdod, where they were vacationing for the Passover holiday.
Paramedics said they had attempted to resuscitate the infant and rushed him to the city’s Assuta Medical Center, but medical staff were unable to save his life.
On Monday night ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem and Ashdod protested the investigation and plans for an autopsy, temporarily blocking traffic and the light rail system and clashing with police.