A number of short video clips showing young Orthodox Jews spitting on the ground in front of Christian clergy in Jerusalem’s Old City are causing a ruckus on social media.
Those predisposed to hatred of the Jews and their reborn state insist this is evidence of Israel’s alleged institutionalized mistreatment of religious minorities.
Before going any further, it is important to emphasize two points:
- The perpetrators in the clips are a handful of misbehaving youth;
- There was no physical violence, and in fact the perpetrators never spit on a Christian, but rather on the ground.
There’s also the overlooked background to this kind of behavior.
Yossi Elitov, editor of the ultra-Orthodox newspaper Mishpachah, said that Christianity’s historical mistreatment of the Jews cannot be ignored.
“In the name of the Church, tens of millions of Jews were slaughtered and rounded up, so the Jewish response was always when you see the symbol of those people (the cross) to spit and move on,” Elitov told the N12 news portal.
However, the Jewish journalist continued, “In the past 50 years, the Church has distanced itself from such behavior, and we in Jerusalem need to learn to be tolerant [toward Christians].”
Rabbi Rafi Ostroff, head of the Religious Council of Gush Etzion, agreed that even if Christians once behaved this way and worse, and even if these recent incidents are receiving far more media coverage than they warrant, the Jews and the Jewish state need to be better.
“I see this as a blasphemy like no other,” the rabbi told N12. “Let’s imagine that Christians pass by synagogues in the US or Europe, and what they do is see a rabbi and spit next to him. We’d shout about antisemitism and intolerance.”
There’s also the matter of the double standard when it comes to Muslim mistreatment of Christians.
It is true that some misbehaving Jews treat Christians poorly in Jerusalem. Though this is certainly not commonplace.
It’s also true that local Christians, especially in territories not under Israeli security control, suffer far more at the hands of Muslims.
You just never hear about it.
As our editor, Aviel Schneider, pointed out on our Israel Today Telegram channel after being contacted by a Church leader over these video clips, “the Christians complain about Jews because they can. I think we all know why they say nothing about Muslim persecution.”
See related: Christians Once Again Under Palestinian Attack
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