Attacks by the ultra-Orthodox and Jews against Christians living or visiting Jerusalem have intensified in recent months.
Newsroom (25/02/2023 17:36, Gaudium Press) The abbot of the Benedictine Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem, Fr. Nikodemus Schnabel, has observed a sharp increase in attacks on Christians since the right-wing religious government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took office in Israel.
The attacks, which include spitting, cursing and pushing priests in the alleys of the Old City, have also changed, said the abbot, newly elected in early February, in an interview with ORF this past Friday. “It is no longer a question of spitting on me, but how many times a day”, stressed the religious.
Being bumped into and insulted also increased in an “indescribable” way, Fr. Schnabel continued. Thus, the Jewish quarter of the old city of Jerusalem became a “forbidden area” for him, because he is easily recognized as a Christian because of his religious habit.
According to the abbot, the attackers can usually be clearly identified as members of the national-religious camp. “These are people who have a very clear political attitude: Israel for the Jews, non-Jews outside. We feel their hatred very strongly at the moment.”
“Death to Christians”
There have already been a number of attacks on Christian institutions in Israel this year – earlier this year the desecration of the Evangelical Cemetery in Jerusalem, the desecration of a Maronite church in the north of the country, graffiti with the slogan “Death to Christians,” attacks on young Christians and restaurant goers, and most recently the destruction of an image of Jesus on the Stations of the Cross.
As a result of these attacks, earlier this week in an open letter, three hundred university religion and humanities students pledged their support for the country’s Christian communities. We call on the authorities to take decisive action against those responsible for these crimes and protect members of all religions from hatred, ignorance and violence.
With Vatican News
Compiled by Raunaq Luis Fernandes