Ben Gvir: Treat them with a heavy hand

Ultra-Orthodox rioters in Jerusalem throw trash bin, seriously injuring passerby

40-year-old woman hospitalized in serious condition as demonstrators clash with police over man arrested for allegedly torching cell phone store

Ultra-Orthodox Israeli Jews riot in Jerusalem, December 15, 2022. (Twitter video screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Ultra-Orthodox Israeli Jews riot in Jerusalem, December 15, 2022. (Twitter video screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

A woman was seriously injured on Thursday night in Jerusalem during a protest by hundreds of ultra-Orthodox extremists.

The 40-year-old woman was passing by the protest when she was hit by a trash bin that had been sent rolling by the protesters.

She was lightly injured and sent to the hospital, but during the night, her condition deteriorated and she was listed in serious condition by the morning, Ynet reported.

The police opened an investigation into the incident.

The demonstration in the capital’s Mea Shearim neighborhood erupted in response to the arrest of a man suspected of torching a cell phone store several months ago. Cell phone stores are sometimes targeted by religious extremists for not complying with kosher rules restricting the devices.

Hundreds of protesters rallied for hours on Thursday night, blocking roads, torching a traffic light and trash cans, and throwing stones at police.

Firefighters put out the blazes, but one of the trash cans struck the woman, causing the injuries. It wasn’t clear if it was on fire when it hit her.

The protesters shouted at police and Border Police officers, calling them “Nazis, murderers, terrorists,” the Walla news site reported.

“Ben Gvir is going to set things in order here,” they said, referring to the presumed incoming national security minister Itamar Ben Gvir of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party.

However, in a statement released Friday, Ben Gvir called for police to use a “heavy hand” against the demonstrators.

“Violence is not freedom of speech, it’s anarchy,” Ben Gvir said. “Anarchists and bad apples need to be treated with a heavy hand.”

“The rioters who almost murdered a woman and harmed police need to go to prison for a very long time,” he said.

Police arrested at least two people for disturbing public order and setting fires. The suspects were taken to a police station for questioning.

After the Jerusalem protests began, separate demonstrations erupted in Beit Shemesh, an ultra-Orthodox city between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

The Beit Shemesh demonstrations came in response to the arrest of two residents a few days ago for suspected vandalism of public property.

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