Woman seriously injured by haredi rioters in Jerusalem overnight

Shas leader Arye Deri called the actions of the rioters "a blasphemy of God" and joined his political partners in condemning the events.

 Israel Police officers survey the damage after heavy rioting from ultra-Orthodox protesters in central Jerusalem, December 15, 2022. (photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE SPOKESMAN)
Israel Police officers survey the damage after heavy rioting from ultra-Orthodox protesters in central Jerusalem, December 15, 2022.
(photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE SPOKESMAN)

A woman was seriously injured after rioters pushed a metal garbage can at her in Jerusalem overnight Thursday. Dozens of rioters demonstrated in the city, blocking roads in central Jerusalem, throwing stones and starting fires. 

The woman was initially taken to the hospital in mild condition, but deteriorated during the night as her injuries became more severe. According to the medical staff at the hospital, she has now stabilized somewhat but is still in serious condition.

It is suspected that the injuries sustained to the woman's upper body were caused by a large garbage container that was pushed toward her while she was walking by, and Israel Police have opened an investigation with the aim of tracking down and arresting those involved.

The incident took place during violent protests near Yehezkel Street and further down near the area of Bar Ilan Street, where hundreds of protesters rioted, threw stones, set fire to heavy-duty garbage cans and blocked traffic from passing.

Police operating in the area to try and restore calm arrested two people on suspicion of disorderly conduct and starting fires, who were taken in for further questioning.

 A garbage can can be seen set ablaze in central Jerusalem amid ultra-Orthodox riots, December 15, 2022. (credit: ISRAEL POLICE SPOKESMAN) A garbage can can be seen set ablaze in central Jerusalem amid ultra-Orthodox riots, December 15, 2022. (credit: ISRAEL POLICE SPOKESMAN)

"Recently, and especially over the last few nights, we have witnessed violent extremists breaking the law, harming policemen and citizens in the Jerusalem city center and in Beit Shemesh," the Jerusalem District Police said. 

"Recently, and especially over the last few nights, we have witnessed violent extremists breaking the law, harming policemen and citizens in the Jerusalem city center and in Beit Shemesh."

Jerusalem District Police

The protests are happening "against the backdrop of the arrest of a suspect for setting fire to a cell phone store at the beginning of the week," the statement continued. "These are violent and illegal disturbances, with no resemblance to a legal protest.

"This violence was directed at a bus, at police cars and police officers, and yesterday, also at a passerby who was seriously injured."

The District Police added that "vandalism, burning and trash cans, throwing stones and objects, harming citizens and police officers, and blocking roads do not constitute a legal protest, but rather a disturbance of order and a violent riot for the sake of rioting that may result in injury to human life. We will continue to act and deal decisively with those lawbreakers and violent troublemakers who will harm the residents of the area and road users, citizens or police officers."

Criticism from incoming government

Prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the violence in a statement on Friday morning, saying: "I strongly condemn the violent riot last night in which a passerby was injured by ultra-Orthodox extremists in Jerusalem. I call on the police to catch those responsible for this crime and bring them to justice. There is no place for violent riots in the streets of Israel."

Otzma Yehudit chairman and national security minister-designate MK Itamar Ben-Gvir also condemned the violence, saying that "violence is not a freedom of expression; it is anarchy... the rioters who almost murdered a woman and injured the policemen must be put in prison for many years.

"The time has come to bring order to the country," he continued. "We must not make concessions to anyone who practices violence. Demonstrations and freedom of speech are important, but not under any circumstances [if there is] disorderly conduct, harming policemen and destroying infrastructure."

Also adding their voices to the criticism from incoming coalition members against the ultra-Orthodox rioters were United Torah Judaism chairman MK Yitzhak Goldknopf and Shas leader Arye Deri.

"Violence and rioting is not a protest, but a blasphemy of God, and I condemn them wholeheartedly," Deri said. "These rioters who terrorize the residents of Jerusalem must be arrested as soon as possible and brought to justice."