News Brief 7/19/2011, Tammuz 17, 5771
'Reincarnated' Boy Cannot Testify
A seven-year-old boy may not testify in place of a deceased man despite the family's belief that the boy is the man's next incarnation, Haifa District Court Justice Yael Vilner ruled Tuesday. Israel's laws regarding witness testimony are clear, and are not subject to change based on religious belief, she said.
The family of Marwan Kassem wished for the child to testify as Kassem in order to dispel claims that Kassem had died while attempting to carry out a terrorist attack. The IDF has argued that Kassem was shot and killed because he attacked soldiers with an ax in what was clearly a terrorist attack; Kassem's family rejects that claim, and says Kassem was killed in a fight that broke out after soldiers refused to allow him on base to visit a former commander.
The “reincarnated” child was born at the time Kassem died.