JERUSALEM POST – Jerusalem Christians say they’re under attack – will Israel help?

Christians in Jerusalem are reporting more acts of vandalism and spitting. What are Israeli officials doing about it?

Brother Alberto Pari has been spat on and taunted as he walks on the streets in Jerusalem.

“Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned,” youngsters have jeered.

When he first arrived in Jerusalem in 2007, he didn’t experience such behavior; but once he attained brotherhood after a year of study, he donned a traditional long black robe, which made him a visible target.



Israeli reporter posing as Christian spat at – further evidence of the spike in hate crimes against Christians in Jerusalem

The report in Jerusalem’s old city by Israel’s Channel 13 comes amid a spike in anti-Christian hate crimes in the country.

An Israeli journalist was derided and spat at, including by a child and a soldier, as he spent a day dressed as a priest in Jerusalem to investigate spiralling hate crimes against Christians in the city.

Donning a brown priest’s robe, Channel 13’s Yossi Eli was spat at just five minutes after setting out with a Franciscan clergyman, Father Alberto.

A bit later a man mocked them in Hebrew, saying, “Forgive me father for I have sinned.” Then an 8-year-old spat at them, as did a soldier when a group of troops passed by later.


This is not the first time that soldiers have been caught committing hate crimes against Christians in Jerusalem. In November, troops from the Givati infantry brigade spat at the Armenian archbishop during a procession. They were later disciplined by the army.

Channel 13’s report comes as attacks against Christians in Jerusalem – spanning from vandalism of grave sites to physical assaults – have been spiking, with the police reluctant to track down perpetrators.

In his first interview with Israeli TV, the Vatican’s custodian of the Holy Land, Father Francesco Patton, blamed Israel’s politicians, arguing that the wave of attacks began “when the political language became more violent.”

He mentioned the desecration of a Lutheran cemetery, the vandalizing of a Maronite prayer room and the spraying of “death to Christians” on Armenian property, all in the space of weeks. He also noted “the responsibility of the leaders, of those who have power.”

Channel 13 drew on several recent incidents, including the desecration of 33 graves in the Protestant cemetery on Mount Zion. Two teenagers have been indicted.

Channel 13 also spoke to Armenian clergyman Father Gurion, who was assaulted by a group of Jews in the Old City – and was then detained by the police. First arriving in Israel in 1996, Gurion said there have always hate crimes, but the situation has deteriorated.

Without punishment, he said, “They feel that anything is permissible,” adding that people have urinated on holy sites and even filmed themselves doing so.

This article was published in Haaretz on June 26 2023.

Statement on the Increasing Cycle of Violence in the Holy Land

We, the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, call upon all parties in the Holy Land to practice restraint and self-control. We have been constantly warning of an exploding, senseless cycle of violence that will only cause hurt and suffering to everyone. Such a state of affairs will almost certainly bring further atrocities and anguish, driving us away from the much sought-after peace and stability that we all seek.

In closely monitoring this regrettable situation, we have concluded that this proliferation of violence that has led to the unwarranted deaths of 32 Palestinians and 7 Israelis since the start of the New Year seems to be self-perpetuating. It will surely continue and even escalate unless a robust intervention is resolutely undertaken by community and political leaders on all sides.

Everyone must work together to defuse the current tensions and to launch a political process based upon well-established principles of justice that will bring about a lasting peace and prosperity for all. Consonant with this, in these most difficult of times we call upon all parties to reverence each other’s religious faith and to show respect to all holy sites and places of worship.

In the aftermath of this latest, tragic wave of violence, we pray for those killed and injured, and we ask that God stay close to their families and loved ones. We pray also for healing for the wounded, and that the Almighty would give strength and perseverance to those caring for them.

Finally, we ask that God grant wisdom and prudence to political leaders and people of influence on all sides, leading them to devise ways to help us overcome violence, keep our communities safe, and work tirelessly to bring about a just and peaceful solution for our beloved Holy Land.

Update following Patriarch Theophilos III’s meeting with Israeli Police Commander of the Jerusalem District

Yesterday (05.01.23) Patriarch Theophilos III received the Israeli Police Commander of the Jerusalem District. The Commander requested the meeting in connection with the shameful crime of the desecration of more than 30 graves at the Protestant Cemetery on Mt Zion.

Patriarch Theophilos referred to the statement the Council of Patriarchs and Heads of Churches issued on the matter and reiterated the unacceptability of these crimes and their infringement on the Status Quo. The Churches call on all sides to work together to end the increasing number of hate crimes against Christians in the Holy City and restore religious tolerance and safety in the Holy Land for all.

Statement on the recent vandalism and desecration of the Protestant cemetery on Mt. Zion

Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem

We, the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, are deeply disturbed at the wanton desecration of more than thirty gravestones at the Protestant cemetery on Mt. Zion on New Year’s Day.

“Particularly troubling are the scenes recovered from the security camera footage from that afternoon. They reveal two young men wearing kippers and tall it kaftans maliciously smashing to pieces a stone carving of the second Protestant Bishop of Jerusalem, numerous stone crosses and the tombstones of Christian police officers of Mandate Palestine.

“The choice of these specific targets signals to us that the perpetrators of these criminal deeds were clearly motivated by religious bigotry and hatred of Christians. Moreover, we note that this is not the first such attack upon this cemetery, but part of a repeating pattern of attacks against Christian sacred sites and cemeteries on Mt. Zion and elsewhere that have been on the rise over the past decade.

“As we have done multiple times in the past with similar such atrocities, we condemn these terroristic acts against the Protestant Cemetery and call for the concerned authorities to tirelessly pursue, apprehend, and prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes to the fullest extent of the law, including those laws pertaining to hate crimes.

“Moreover, these acts cannot be seen as isolated incidents, but as a clear and systematic attempt to bring about exclusivity in favour of one side, and a fierce attack on the historical Status Quo enshrined in our beloved Holy Land and upheld by International Law, which ensures the protection of mutual respect and religious rights.

“We therefore invite religious and political leaders both in our region and around the world to join us in condemning and combatting these and other such violent acts of defilement against sacred sites, and to actively reaffirm and recommit themselves to the promotion of an environment of safety, mutual respect, and religious tolerance in this Holy Land that is held in reverence by all three of the Abrahamic Faiths.

Statement from the Archbishop of Canterbury regarding the desecration of Christian graves in Jerusalem

The desecration of Christian graves in Jerusalem is a blasphemous act. I join the Chief Rabbi and religious leaders in Jerusalem in condemning it and hope those responsible will be brought swiftly to justice.

As we continue to pray for peace in the Holy Land, I stand with Archbishop Hosam Naoum and other Jerusalem church leaders in calling for respect, protection, equality and justice for its Christian community – who are the Living Stones of the church.

Statement on the Recent Vandalism and Desecration of the Protestant Cemetery on Mt. Zion – The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East The Diocese of Jerusalem

On the morning of January 3, 2023, it was discovered that, sometime over the New Year holidays, vandals had broken into the historic Protestant cemetery on Mt. Zion, where they purposely and relentlessly smashed more than thirty gravestones, many of them historic.

Security camera footage later revealed that these crimes took place beginning around 15:20 on January 1st, and that the perpetrators numbered at least two, both young males wearing kippahs and tallit katans.

Among the obliterated tombstones was one containing the bust of the Right Reverend Samuel Gobat, the second Protestant Bishop in Jerusalem and founder of the adjoining Jerusalem University College, formally known as the Gobat School.

Three commonwealth graves of Palestinian police officers were among those destroyed. Many stone crosses were also the targets of the vandals, clearly indicating that these criminal acts were motivated by religious bigotry and hatred against Christians.

The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem condemns these wanton acts of desecration and calls for the relevant authorities to search for, apprehend, and prosecute the perpetrators of these terroristic crimes to the fullest extent of the law, including those laws pertaining to hate crimes.

We welcome the supportive words expressed by President Herzog, Chief Rabbi Mirvis, and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and invite other political and religious leaders both in Jerusalem and around the world to join in condemning and combatting these and other such violent acts of defilement against sacred sites, thereby helping to promote an environment of safety, mutual respect, and religious tolerance in this Holy City that is held in reverence by all three of the Abrahamic Faiths.