Dormition Abbey situated atop Jerusalem’s Mt. Zion was over the weekend again marred by anti-Christian graffiti reading: “Death to the Christians, the enemies of Israel.” (see picture)
Israeli authorities found the Hebrew slogans daubed on several exterior walls of the Christian holy site. A church spokesman told Israeli media, “The inscriptions are not only against Jesus the Messiah, but also call to slaughter the Christians and send them to hell! How long will these acts of vandalism continue?”
A number of acts of vandalism and even arson have been perpetrated against churches, including Dormition Abbey, in recent years, presumably by extremist Jewish youth.
These hate crimes have been harshly condemned by the Israeli government, though church official insist the authorities could and should do more.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that he would not tolerate such anti-Christian activity, and has instructed Israel’s security apparatus to spare no effort hunting down the perpetrators.
The Israel Security Agency (Shabak) believes those responsible to be a faction of the radical hilltop youth, young religious Jews who tolerate no foreign religions in the country.
Mainstream religious Jewish voices, such as the online news portal Haredim10, slammed such mistreatment of non-Jews, while vociferously anti-Israel Member of Knesset Ahmed Tibi (Joint Arab List) insisted such hate crimes were the norm. “For years churches and priests in Jerusalem have been harassed and the government does nothing,” claimed the Muslim lawmaker.
Meanwhile, most average Israelis responding online to Hebrew-language reports of the incident expressed outrage and shame, as did Israel Radio.