A church in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Musrara has for months been facing regular attacks by local Arab Muslims over its refusal to sell the property and move out.
Living Bread International Church has ministry centers in Jerusalem, Gaza and Jericho. It has a 20-year lease on the Jerusalem location, but was recently told by a gang of Arab residents that it must vacate the premises, which is situated near the Old City.
"When we said we would not sell it, they decided to take it by force," Karen Dunham, pastor and director of the ministry, told The Jerusalem Post
Since then, Dunham said the church's 45 employees have been subjected to constant harassment, as have two Jewish orphans with Down's Syndrome that are housed at the facility.
Staff members, including Dunham herself, have been physically assaulted, property has been stolen, and the assailants have started building make-shift structures on the church's property in an attempt to take it over.
As with many similar situations in the city, Dunham has been frustrated by the Police Department's reluctance to fully and effectively enforce the law.
"We...took pictures of [the assailants] during attacks and [were] able to identify them using Facebook, but after filing the first two or three police reports I realized nothing was happening," she said. "They [the assailants] continued to sit outside [the church] and harass us."
Police in Jerusalem rarely take firm action in cases of Arab violence against the city's Jewish residents, and are even less likely to intervene in Arab assaults on a largely Arab church. And this for fear of further inflaming Muslim rioters who have for the past six months turned parts of Jerusalem into something of a war zone.