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Bishops decry anti-Christian incidents in Galilee

Catholic World News - May 07, 2014

The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land has issued a statement condemning “three major acts of vandalism and profanation against Christian sites in Galilee.”

On April 27, between 70 and 80 teenagers, “half of them … dressed as orthodox Jews,” came to Dormition Abbey, according a report on the Benedictine abbey’s website. They threw stones at one cross, demolished another altar cross, scratched the Star of David on some benches, and threw stones and spit at a woman who was a guest of the abbey.

“The material damage was not so great, but what shocked us is that their focus of hate was against the symbol of the cross, that they destroyed facilities for pilgrims and that they terrified innocent guests and pilgrims visiting the holy places,” according to the abbey.

In a separate incident, a rabbi sent a letter to the Patriarchal Vicariate in Nazareth and promised “serious reprisals” if Christians did not leave the State of Israel, according to the bishops. The rabbi was subsequently arrested.

Finally, Jewish neighbors disrupted a baptism taking place in a Greek Orthodox church in Al-Bassa “by driving a vehicle toward the buildings and honking loudly,” according to a report in the Israeli daily Haaretz.

One resident “cursed me and the others present, calling us stinking Christians and other names and curses,” a woman photographing the baptism told Haaretz. “It was embarrassing and humiliating.”

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  • Posted by: Contrary1995 - May. 07, 2014 2:45 PM ET USA

    Having just returned from the Holy Land, I can attest to the obvious hostility of the super orthodox rabbis and their followers to any non-Jewish presence in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. The Western Wall has been turned into a maze of fences and barriers designed to make the area as uncomfortable as possible for non-Jews.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - May. 07, 2014 7:40 AM ET USA

    I have every expectation that Israeli authorities will deal harshly with these thugs as they have in the past (notice here that one rabbi has already been arrested). These people are a fringe element widely condemned by Israelis. On the other hand, I have absolutely no expectation that anything serious will happen to those who recently burned or bombed churches in Pakistan, crucified Christians in Syria, or who are persecuting them across the Middle East. And local Mohammedans will be silent.

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