Monday, April 10, 2006

About 90 minutes ago I returned home, after a productive, nice, busy and exhausting day in Tel Aviv, so I only went up to my study to check today's headlines and my mailbox, then I am going to bed ( after a hot shower ). As much as I feel bad about the Palestinian children who have been killed in the latest round of cat-and-mouse games between Israel and the various Palestinian terror factions, what saddened me most was the story of the three-month-old baby who died after having been abused, beaten and bitten by his 19-year-old father, Yisrael Vales, who belongs to a highly respected haredi ( ultra-orthodox ) family. The father has admitted the abuse, saying that "one of the reasons for his violence was disgust he felt toward his son due to a physical defect in the child's neck muscles". Also, he was angry at his son because he "wouldn't let him sleep ". The story in itself is sad enough, but what made me even sadder ( and angrier ) were the reactions by members of the haredi community to which the family belongs. They still deny that the father could be guilty, and the police is even afraid that riots could erupt now that the father has been charged with killing - rather than 'only' absusing - his son. What worth do your values and your frumkeit have when the life and the wellbeing of a helpless baby are less important than the 'honor' of your community and of one of its deranged and despicable members? Why did nobody ring any bell to protect this poor baby, whose three months' worth of life consisted mainly of abuse? Of course this does not say anything - well, it does not say much - about the haredi communities in general, and I am sure that on average haredi parents are as good or bad as any less devout mother and father, but I truly pity the poor children who are born in the community of which Yisrael Vales is such a respected member.

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