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Ilya Bezruchko

On the edge of the life

Night view on Krayot. Picture provided to the author by the victim of the attack.
Night view on Krayot. Picture provided to the author by the victim of the attack.

Two residents of Haifa were severely beaten with hammers on the roof of a house in Kiryat Motzkin.

On May 4, 2023, at around 20:00, two friends from Haifa, Vladimir, and Myroslav, decided to go up to the roof of the house, which one of them had noticed some time ago, to take a photo of the evening views of Krayot. It is worth explaining that Vladimir’s work is connected with high-altitude work, in connection with which the young man has a hobby – shooting panoramas from different Israeli roofs. Having received permission from one of the residents of a multi-story building, they entered the roof, where they started taking pictures. A little later, noticing the flag of the Russian Federation fixed on the top, one of the guys suggested setting the flag of Ukraine nearby, which, by coincidence, he had in his backpack, as he had recently bought several as gifts for his friends. After the flag was fixed, the guys continued to take pictures. Suddenly, someone locked the door to the roof from the outside. Not wanting to spend the night on the top, the young people called the police to help them escape the trap in which they found themselves.

However, a few minutes later, instead of the police, three unknown men burst into the opened door. Two of them were armed with hammers, and one with pepper spray. The unknown beat the young people. The guys could not protect themselves with the pepper spray they had for self-defense since the forces and means of the parties were unequal. The attackers immediately threw Vladimir on the roof and began to beat him; Myroslav received several blows to the head with a hammer and fell down. It is unknown how this brutal massacre over two residents of Haifa would have ended if the police, who had managed to climb onto the roof of an eight-story building by that moment, had been late for a few more minutes.

For several minutes the police tried to stop the beating, after which the attackers tried to explain something to the representatives of the law enforcement forces in broken Hebrew but could not. As a result of the attack, Myroslav received serious skull injuries and lost up to half a liter of blood. The victim said in a personal conversation:

Seeing myself covered in blood in the elevator mirror, I almost fainted from understanding what these people had done to me.

Once on the street, Myroslav asked the arriving ambulance for hospitalization. Despite the severe injuries of the young man, one of the policemen told him that he would have to come to the Zvulon department tomorrow to testify. When writing the article, Myroslav was still in the hospital awaiting surgery. According to doctors, his recovery will take from several days to weeks.

The photo was provided by one of the victims.

In the meantime, Vladimir, who received less severe beatings, and the three attackers were taken to the police station to testify. During the interrogation, Vladimir spent more than 4 hours in the station (from 20.00 to 00.00); the police officers who carried out the actions refused to provide the detainee with medical assistance even though he complained of dizziness and pain; they did not let him drink. They did not let him go to the toilet. At the request of the young man to stop defiantly eating in front of him, as he was hungry and thirsty, one of the police officers noted that:

You should be grateful that you don’t lie on the floor wearing ‘bracelets’ but sits on a chair during the interrogation.

He was released home after the investigative actions, and his mobile phone was returned.

Volunteer and assistant to the mayor of Kiryat Motzkin for repatriates and refugees, Peter Greben, commented on the situation on his Facebook page:

Hammers, in the best traditions of the sledgehammers of that federation, decided to impose their concepts and methods on two citizens of our country. The police managed to save them from the massacre and transfer the victims to the ambulance. During the arrest, the attackers threatened the injured.

Also, in communication with the residents of Kiryat Motzkin on social networks, Peter said that he would inform the mayor of the city about the incident and make every effort so that the city administration took measures so that such attacks would not happen again in a quiet town in the North of Israel. The perpetrators would be punished according to current legislation.

In addition, I contacted the residents of the same house in Kiryat Motzkin, where this inhuman crime occurred. As Elizabeth, an ola-hadasha from Ukraine, informed me, before Israel’s Independence Day, she hung two flags on her balcony – one of Ukraine and one of Israel. A few days later, unidentified persons hung the flag of the Russian Federation on the roof of their multi-storied house without learning the opinion of the majority of the house’s residents. It is worth noting that three more Ukrainian flags are hung on balconies and windows in neighboring buildings. This is the way how many olim-hadashim in Israel express their solidarity with the country of origin, with their homeland, which has been fighting against the occupying troops of the Russian Federation for more than 430 days since the beginning of the full-scale invasion to Ukraine in February 2022.

The view of the apartment building where the attack was carried out.
Picture from a private album

Unfortunately, the weapon of the attack suggests unpleasant analogies with the Wagner Group (banned in some countries, the private military company owned by Putin’s close ally, Evgeny Prigozhin), which executes in this way, using sledgehammers (hammers). In addition, I would like to remind readers that it has recently become known about the death of Alexander Dubovik, an Israeli citizen, a native of Dnipro, who fought in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Having been wounded in battles in the Bakhmut area, he was captured by mercenaries from the Wagner Group, after which they executed him.

According to Anna Zharova, a public figure and co-founder of the “Israeli Friends of Ukraine” organization:

We personally and through volunteers constantly receive stories about vandalism: punctured tires of cars with Ukrainian symbols, torn flags over volunteer centers, leaflets with offensive language in mailboxes (of those people that hav Ukrainian flags on their balconies), but the case of Myroslav and Volodymyr is a real lynch. This is not hooliganism or a usual showdown. These people, that attacked two young men, came to the roof with hammers and had one goal – physical violence. It is crucial to make such stories public so that the police cannot hush up the case, and the perpetrators cannot escape punishment and answer for their deeds.

In conclusion, I hope that this case of particular cruelty will be investigated by the Israeli police with due attention to all details, and those responsible will be punished. In turn, our role as a civil society is to keep this case under control, not giving the criminals a chance to avoid the deserved punishment.

About the Author
Ilya Bezruchko is CEO of the co-working network in Ukraine, a blogger and the Jewish activist.
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