Family of woman injured in Haredi protest defends culprits: ‘They didn’t mean harm’

Relatives of Mirel Dzalovsky, who remains unconscious and on a ventilator, say those using incident to advance their agenda are ‘fanning the flames of hate’

Ultra-Orthodox rioters clash with police in Jerusalem, December 15, 2022. (Israel Police)
Ultra-Orthodox rioters clash with police in Jerusalem, December 15, 2022. (Israel Police)

The family of a woman who was hit and seriously injured by a blazing dumpster sent rolling down a street by Haredi extremists during demonstrations in Jerusalem last week has defended those responsible, saying they meant to block a road and “did not mean to kill anyone.”

While Mirel Dzalovsky, a 40-year-old mother of 10, remains unconscious and on a ventilator at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, her relatives said the rioters “did something awful” but stressed that they were not looking for someone to blame.

“They were not trying to harm anyone. They were trying to block a street as part of a protest,” the family told Channel 12.

They said it felt like the public was “celebrating our horrific situation” and trying to use the incident as a case against “the people of Mea Shearim,” the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood in the capital where a demonstration erupted on Thursday in response to the arrest of a man suspected of torching a cellphone store several months ago.

“Those fanning the flames of hate shouldn’t think that they are supporting us,” the family said.

“We’re in a very difficult place right now but we are all one people,” read a statement issued by the family.

The family clarified that “nobody thinks that what they did was right. They did something very bad. But at the end of the day, they only meant to move a dumpster and block a road, not kill anyone.

“They didn’t stop to think for a moment what their actions could lead to. And it shouldn’t have been done, but we’re in terrible pain seeing this lead to a discourse of hate,” the statement read.

The family added that it bore “no hard feelings toward anyone.”

“We are certain that [the culprits] are having a hard time sleeping because of this difficult incident,” the family said. “Please help us spread love and don’t harass us with words of hatred and separatism.”

Ultra-Orthodox rioters clash with police in Jerusalem, December 15, 2022. (Israel Police)

Hundreds of the protesters caused havoc for hours on Thursday night, blocking roads, torching a traffic light and trashcans, and throwing stones at police.

Police arrested at least two people for disturbing the peace and setting fires. On Sunday, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court extended the suspects’ detention by an additional three days.

The protests were widely condemned by politicians on both ends of the political spectrum, as well as by some residents of Mea Shearim, who said the culprits did not represent the neighborhood as a whole.

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