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The “decapitated calf” rite is mandated by the Torah in a case in which a person is found dead and the killer is unknown. In such a situation, the Torah commands that the elders of the city closest to the site where the body was found take a calf and slaughter it in a barren valley.
The elders then wash their hands over the calf, disavowing responsibility for the person’s death, and say, “Our hands have not spilt this blood and our eyes did not see. Atone for Your nation Israel who You redeemed, God. Do not place innocent blood amidst Your people Israel.”
According to the police, Yasatzu, an Ethiopian-Israeli from Yokne’am, was hit by a number of cars close to Kibbutz Hazorea in the western Jezreel Valley before she died.