Yisrael Valis: And the Case Comes A-Tumblin’ Down

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The case against Yisrael Valis is “crumbling,” and the prosecution seems likely to ask to close the case. As reported in B’Sheva by Ya’ir Shapira, legal affairs columnist:

On the eve of the Ninth of Av, the Avrech (Kollel student) Yisral Valis was released to his home, to cry over the destruction of our Holy Temple, over his deceased son, and over his good name which has been ruined over the past several months. In the Jerusalem District Court over the past few weeks, the indictment accusing Valis of murder has crumbled.

And in Ladaat.net:

In court it was determined to immediately release him from arrest. According to the claims of the family of the Avrech Yisrael Valis, we are talking about a question of “how to come down from the tree that the prosecution climbed.”

[R’ Tzvi Eisenstein, Valis’ uncle, said that] the apparent cause of his release was the crucial testimony of Dr. Sergei Spector, who said that the child died neither from a fall nor deliberate injury, but because of a lack of oxygen which was not provided to him in the hospital.

Arutz-7 explains:

The surgeon, Dr. Spector, testified that the baby arrived in the hospital in “reasonable” condition, and that his death was caused by medical neglect. An eye doctor in the hospital testified that the chances of the baby having been “shaken [to death]” are much less than the likelihood that he merely banged his head accidentally. Prof. Yehuda Hiss of the Forensic Institute said he found no signs of abuse on the baby – though the investigators violated the law, Shapira writes, “by not presenting his declaration to the prosecution, the defense, or the court.”

Both Shapira and Eisenstein surmise that it is likely that when the trial resumes after the courts’ summer recess, the Prosecution will request to withdraw the charges against Wells altogether.

Arutz-7 also notes that the defense has not even begun to present its case. It’s not over til it’s over, but Valis seems increasingly likely to remain free.

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26 Responses

  1. Michael Kopinsky says:

    Since when is Arutz Sheva considered a legitimate news source?

  2. joel rich says:

    Yaakov, I hope you are right. There was a lively debate on this topic on another list with all hoping this was the result but some doubting based on personal experience. It would be a simple study to design to prove one way or another but I doubt it will be done.
    KT

  3. HILLEL says:

    Yaakov:

    Anyone who is familiar with the SHUVU schools for Russian children in Israel observes that a religious environment promotes much better behavior than a value-free secular environment.

    That is why many caring secular Russian parents, who are not particularly interested in a religious education, send their kids to SHUVA, rather than to the crime-ridden, drug-infested Israeli secular school system.

  4. Rabbi Zvi says:

    I think that something is being distorted. I don’t see anybody being gleeful or anyone taking sides – my side, his side inside or out.

    Most right thinking people find it painful to hear of a father abusing/murdering his child. As a result, they are hopeful that another cause be found and feel a sense of relief when their fears are alleviated.

    It is important to remember though, that there was a rush to judgement and immediate demonification of observant Jews and their lifestyles (I’ll wager this would have been the same had the father been MO) and that the Israeli justice system is not the same as in the U.S. The sense of relief is greater when additional fears are allayed.

    The story is tragic no matter what – it starts and ends with tragedy – who can be gleeful? Can one be gleeful over the death of another? Of riots? Of slander? Of mistreatment?

    One can only be relieved that the story is not worse than it is.

    HaShem Yerachaym.

  5. Yaakov Menken says:

    Joel,

    Why they tell those stories about you and me is really quite simple: these crimes are all too common in secular society, and a secular person does not wish to acknowledge that a religious lifestyle leads to more moral behavior.

    Every principle of sociology, psychology and behavioral science tells us that a person can and will change behaviors as a result of training and influences. Those who read People are more likely to gossip than those who study the Chofetz Chaim daily.

    But secular society refuses to believe the obvious. Most recently, sociologists arrived at the incredibly surprising, truly earth-shaking conclusion that teens who listen to raunchy lyrics engage in earlier and more frequent instances of behaviors described in those lyrics. This was a “suprise” because for years it was argued that the lyrics reflected societal behavior, rather than creating it.

    Thus when, back in 1986, an Orthodox woman in NY did kill her child, it was reported by the NY Times as a window into the “hidden phenomenon of abuse” in the Orthodox family. Every fact reported in the article mitigated against this very claim — that our children are constantly in each others’ homes, for example, leads to a far greater likelihood that abuse would come to light.

    Here again, they need no evidence. They need (and, apparently, had from the beginning) nothing but their own desire to prove a religious lifestyle offers no improvement.

  6. joel rich says:

    No, Joel, every time Emet wins out that’s not a win for our team. Let me explain. Israel Valis being guilty would be a win for “emet,” but it definitely wouldn’t be a win for us, as it would be a Chillul Hashem of the major proportions that would promote charedi-bashing (and charedi-bashing is not a good thing, I hope you agree with that).

    My comment was based on events already occuring (in this case unfortunately the events with the baby). Any chilul jhashem is a bad thing period. Are you saying that you would have been glad in a similar case if the father had done an evil thing and gotten away with it because of political reasons?

    So that makes me glad, that a charedi kollel guy who leads (tries to lead, whatever you want) a Torah-true lifestyle is not guilty of the heinous crime he was accused of.

    I\’m glad too for the reasons you stated. I also think it\’s worth thinking about why, as R\’ Wein says, they tell those stories about you and me (Hamevin Yavin)

    And it’s also good that the Israeli secular justice system has lost, being anti-Torah. They’re not on our side. Our side being the side of Torah.

    Strong disagreement. I don\’t believe they are cosciously anti-torah but more so pro their system. I always assumed that the mishnah in avot which discusses praying for the welfare of the government where you live because else men would destroy each other would apply here as well or would you prefer a lawless society?

    When it comes to Emet we’re on the same side. But I’d rather have the Emet of him being not guilty and that makes me glad. IMHO, I don’t see these feelings in Nachum or you. At least that’s the impression I get. It may be wrong, but “ein l’dayan elo ma she’einov roos.”

    Of course I\’d rather him not guilty. Please, if you do nothing else, quote exactly where I left you an impression otherwise.

    Naturally, when these two worlds are in conflict and accuse each other of impropriety (such as libel/child abuse in this case) people in these two worlds root for “their team,” i.e. hope that their side is telling the truth. Hence charedim feel a sense of vindication. I’m sure the anti-religious tishkoret (Israeli press) feels a sense of disappointment. Some, like you, feel neither. That’s because you don’t have an emotional attachment to one of the two sides in conflict. I do. Your point about the truth is irrelevant.

    Back to my original point. I don\’t see the 2 worlds in conflict but as differing approaches to the ratzon hashem. I don\’t take any joy when a member of the charedi or MO world makes a chilul hashem and am thrilled when there is a kiddush hashem. I again urge you not to be sure you know how anyone feels or has an emotional attachment unless you ask them. You\’re certainly entitled to feel my comment is irrelevant.

    I guess in summary if you look at me as the other team, that\’s your prerogative but I hope you\’ll give some thought to the poem about mashiach coming and being rejected by each group because of wearing the wrong look for that \”crowd\”

    KT

  7. Nachum says:

    L. Oberstei, did you not read the story? How does this put “Israeli justice” in a bad light if it is Israeli justice that is letting him go free?

    Aryeh, did you not read my post? I said that if he’s found to be innocent and goes free, I’m happy for him (and sad for him that his baby died).

  8. Aryeh says:

    \”Me- As one of that “crowd” (interesting choice of noun – do you also use it to refer to a charedi group?) \”
    Yes, as in \”the Lakewood crowd,\” the \”Flatbush crowd\” and so on.

    \”I’m glad whenever emet wins out – I consider that a win for “our side” ( actually I didn’t realize that we were on different sides in this game, I thought we were on the same team)\”

    No, Joel, every time Emet wins out that\’s not a win for our team. Let me explain. Israel Valis being guilty would be a win for \”emet,\” but it definitely wouldn\’t be a win for us, as it would be a Chillul Hashem of the major proportions that would promote charedi-bashing (and charedi-bashing is not a good thing, I hope you agree with that). So that makes me glad, that a charedi kollel guy who leads (tries to lead, whatever you want) a Torah-true lifestyle is not guilty of the heinous crime he was accused of. And it\’s also good that the Israeli secular justice system has lost, being anti-Torah. They\’re not on our side. Our side being the side of Torah.

    When it comes to Emet we\’re on the same side. But I\’d rather have the Emet of him being not guilty and that makes me glad. IMHO, I don\’t see these feelings in Nachum or you. At least that\’s the impression I get. It may be wrong, but \”ein l\’dayan elo ma she\’einov roos.\”
    Another analogy one could consider would be if it would come out (hypothetically speaking, that\’s not what happened, at the risk of stating the obvious) that the Israeli pilot who dropped the bomb on Kfar Kana, did it knowing that there are no terrorists there and only women and children were inside. Truth would dictate that he should be punished. But would it make you happy that such a thing happened and that \”truth\” was achived? Does it not make you happy that these allegations are not true?

    \”Me-that’s quite an extrapolation from a name (and incorrect)and an interesting equivalence – “secular court” and “haredi world”\”

    It\’s more than an extrapolation. Many Modern Orthodox people (I live in an MO community, so this is based on my observations) feel at home (to a degree) in the secular world and (to a degree) in the pure Torah world (here\’s the inevitable caveat, I\’m sure there are people who fit this description that wear black hats, but I haven\’t met any yet). Meaning, that their thinking/feeling is influenced by these two worlds which are very very far apart. As opposed to people (if you want, call them charedim, although you will find such people in YU and in the Israeli national religious community as well) whose thinking/feeling is influenced to a great degree by the pure Torah world and to a very small degree by the secular world. Naturally, when these two worlds are in conflict and accuse each other of impropriety (such as libel/child abuse in this case) people in these two worlds root for \”their team,\” i.e. hope that their side is telling the truth. Hence charedim feel a sense of vindication. I\’m sure the anti-religious tishkoret (Israeli press) feels a sense of disappointment. Some, like you, feel neither. That\’s because you don\’t have an emotional attachment to one of the two sides in conflict. I do. Your point about the truth is irrelevant. We all want the truth to come out. If the case goes the other way, and it would come out that the accusations are true, then so be it and the guilty should be appropriately punished. That\’s not the point here. What is the point is that such an outcome (Israel Vallis being found guilty) would make me sad and you wouldn\’t feel anything.
    It\’s the emotional attachment I\’m wondering about here.

    \”yes. When the innocent go free and the guilty are punished imho man has done HKB”H’s work and we’re all happy\”

    But when that causes a chillul hashem and \”hineh oivecha yehemoyun u\’misanecha nos\’u rosh\” that doesn\’t make me happy. Mourning the Beis haMikdash is something that we have to do but it doesn\’t make us happy.

  9. L.Oberstei says:

    Well, after a month of not having a computer, I open to find out that Vallis didnt abuse his child and that his confession was forced. Thisa sure puts Israeli justice in a bad light.

  10. Joel Rich says:

    Nachum, why are you and the rest of the modern orthodox crowd so upset (or at least not glad) whenever our side wins?

    Me- As one of that \”crowd\” (interesting choice of noun – do you also use it to refer to a charedi group?) I\’m glad whenever emet wins out – I consider that a win for \”our side\” ( actually I didn\’t realize that we were on different sides in this game, I thought we were on the same team)

    I’m guessing that it’s because you don’t consider it to be “our side.” Modern Orthodoxy implies (by its name) that the secular court system and the haredi world are equally “ours.”

    Me-that\’s quite an extrapolation from a name (and incorrect)and an interesting equivalence – \”secular court\” and \”haredi world\”

    Am I wrong that that is what goes on inside a MO heart(from an emotional point of view)? — Comment by Aryeh

    yes. When the innocent go free and the guilty are punished imho man has done HKB\”H\’s work and we\’re all happy, when that doesn\’t happen, those (haredi or Mo)who stand in the way will answer not to us (haredi or Mo) but to HKB\”H

    KT

  11. HILLEL says:

    To All:

    I am indeed gleeful that a long-suffering totally-innocent Jewish father, who was framed by a police force whose tactics are reminiscent of the Russian NKVD, was finally vindicated and allowed to go on with his life.

    Ahavath Yisroel commands us to be gleeful.

    Now, I eagerly await the next episode in this sordid attempted pogrom: \”Rak BeEineCha SaBit, VeSheLeumas ReShoIm Tir
    Eh!\”–Let me have the privilege of seeing (and gleefully enjoying) the evil police who did this to a grieving father get their just deserts

  12. Yaakov Menken says:

    Let me clarify my position here. I am obviously happy that the evidence leads us to believe that R\’ Yisrael Valis is likely entirely innocent. Note that there are two statements of uncertainty in that last sentence; the evidence \”leads us to believe\” that he is \”likely\” innocent. I am not certain of anything other than that the wheels of justice should reach their conclusion before we reach ours. I am also not saying that we must accept the judge\’s conclusions, any more than we must agree with the jury that OJ Simpson was innocent.

    I am also unfamiliar with attacks on the integrity of the judges (as compared to the police) in this case, although the ability of anything charedi to get a fair hearing in a justice system led by Aharon Barak could certainly be questioned.

    But above all, there is no \”glee.\” I obviously derived my title from an old gospel song, because of the description of the case as \”crumbling\” like an old wall. I am happy that he appears to be innocent, but I see no cause for glee. If the evidence is anywhere near as lacking as these reports indicate, Mr. Valis should never have been placed in a cell. Instead he is now free to go pray or learn for the first time in four months, and, as Bob mentioned, the entire Chareidi community was mercilessly tarred and feathered for even imagining that Valis might be innocent.

  13. Bob Miller says:

    Nachum said “That’s what police and courts are for.”

    What the police and courts are NOT for is releasing fabrications about an accused to the public through the news media.

    Hillel and others recall the shameless media and blog attacks on Chareidim as people, which used the accusations against Valis as a pretext. We also recall all the mock-scientific, mumbo-jumbo commentary that “explained” how the lifestyle of Valis’ community had warped his thinking, and so on.

    Some sincere apologies to Valis and his community are in order.

  14. Aryeh says:

    Nachum, why are you and the rest of the modern orthodox crowd so upset (or at least not glad) whenever our side wins? I’m guessing that it’s because you don’t consider it to be “our side.” Modern Orthodoxy implies (by its name) that the secular court system and the haredi world are equally “ours.”
    Am I wrong that that is what goes on inside a MO heart(from an emotional point of view)?

  15. Ori Pomerantz says:

    mb, for an Israeli criminal trial, this is quick. I don’t think there is a right to a speedy trial under Israeli law.

    Hillel, Israeli law does not allow the public to remove bad judges. It’s not like Texas where some judges are elected officials. I for one prefer “heve dan kol adam lekaf zchut”, unless there is evidence that the judge is dishonest. The fact that the judge was initially suspicious is not evidence – it’s the job of a judge to assume the litigants are dishonest (Mishnah Avot 1:8).

  16. Nachum says:

    Hillel, come on. The justice system is the entirety of the justice system.

    I wonder about the glee. It’s not like the people defending Valis from day one had any idea of the evidence. He got off, Baruch Hashem. But don’t act like you knew all along. That’s what police and courts are for.

  17. Bob Miller says:

    Evil defeated in our time!

  18. mb says:

    Does anybody know why this trial takes so long?

  19. HILLEL says:

    Nachum:

    The judge had no choice. The expert testimony was absolutely clear, and so was the culpability of the fascist police.

    The judge would have been impeached by an enraged public, if he had willfuly ignored the testimony of Chiloni medical experts.

  20. MuMU says:

    Why are you so gleeful ?

  21. Cosmic X says:

    Yishar Koach for blogging about this case from the beginning.

  22. Nachum says:

    Well, R’ Menken, perhaps you will join in the applause of an Israeli court system that sees to it that justice is done. Valis’ defenders have certainly done their share to discredit it as the case began.

  23. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    Moshe,
    What you’re not getting is the distinction between Mr. Valis being allowed to be free during the proceeding of the case and his actually being acquitted. In the US the locking up of a suspect without bail is very rare because there is a Bill of Rights. Here the judge has the power to use imprisonment until the end of proceedings as a punitive tool for political or ideological means. A case in point is the underage demonstrators of last year’s Gush Katif and Amona protests and otherse who were not let out because they refused to recognize the sovereignty of the state. The judge just acted as if they were the Mafia who would tamper with evidence if allowed to walk around free.

  24. Moshe says:

    I’m totally missing something here:
    Mr. Vallis has not been in prison for quite a while. He was out in house arrest, and the house arrest was lifted due to the majority of the witnesses testifying – he is no longer considered a threat of tampering with the witnesses.

  25. HILLEL says:

    Yaakov:

    Would you please clarify which prosecutors we are talking about here. Are these Jewish police or Iranian prosecutors?

  1. August 22, 2006

    […] It is only prudent to agree. Although the title of my last post was “And the Case Comes A-Tumblin’ Down,” I also wrote (in the comments) that “I am not certain of anything other than that the wheels of justice should reach their conclusion before we reach ours.” We should not be jumping the gun. […]