Why Are Jews Attacking Christians in Jerusalem?

Priest acknowledges: They see us as idolaters, and believe it is God’s work to drive us out, as Scripture commands.

By Ryan Jones | | Topics: CHRISTIANS
An Orthodox Jewish man looks entirely unimpressed, if not annoyed as Christians walk by with a large wooden cross in Jerusalem's Old City.
An Orthodox Jewish man looks entirely unimpressed, if not annoyed as Christians walk by with a large wooden cross in Jerusalem's Old City. Photo: Jack Bentley/FLASH90

The Torah speaks quite clearly about driving idolatry out of the Land of Israel. With Israel physically restored, many pious Jews believe it is now time to enact spiritual restoration by opposing and removing anything that violates that commandment.

For these Jews, Christianity is chief among the offenders.

In their eyes, Christianity portrays Jesus as a kind of co-deity with God the Father, or a separate god altogether. That and the Christian propensity for making statues (graven images) of Jesus, even if they aren’t actually praying to the statue, makes them blatant idolaters.

Given this perception, and the way the Lord speaks against allowing idolatry in the land if Israel wants to prosper, it is little wonder that many religious Jews are so hostile toward Christians and Christian symbols.

Father Matteo Munari gets this, and that’s why he’s not angry over the vandalism of a Jesus statue by an American-Jewish tourist at the Church of the Flagellation (one of the stations on the Via Dolorosa) earlier this year.

Father Munari recounted in an interview with Channel 12 News how he had confronted the Orthodox Jewish visitor, and how he had tried to justify his actions to police when they arrived.

“He shouted in English ‘Exodus, chapter 20,’ this is the chapter of the Ten Commandments, because it says there that it is forbidden to make statues and images of God,” recalled the priest. “I tried to convince him that we don’t bow down to statues, we don’t worship idols, but he wasn’t ready to listen. He simply said that all idols in Jerusalem must be destroyed, because Jerusalem is a holy city.”

Father Munari said that while someone should pay for the restoration of the statue, he does not harbor anger or thoughts of revenge against the perpetrator. On the contrary, he expressed understanding for the Jewish man’s actions.

“They (religious Jews) have a problem with the Holy Trinity, and our belief that God became flesh (the incarnation). This is something that cannot be accepted according to Judaism,” he explained. “He (the perpetrator) didn’t want to do anything bad. He was really convinced that what he did was right in God’s eyes. This is simply someone who may have been told that the problem of Jerusalem is the Christians with all these statues and idols.”

When news of the vandalism broke, other Church officials in Jerusalem did try to exploit it for political purposes, and blamed the incident on the “Christian-hating” right-wing religious government of Benjamin Netanyahu. As we pointed out at the time, these Church officials love to jump on every act of Jewish hostility toward Christians, but rarely open their mouths in response to the far more numerous acts of Muslim hostility.

See: “Welcome to the New Christian-Hating Israel”

Father Munari clearly does not fall into that category. While lamenting the routine smaller acts of hostility by Orthodox Jews who pass his church, he accepts it as a painful expression of religion and not a political attack.

Nor does he attribute it primarily to the Christianity’s historical hostility toward the Jews, which no doubt plays some role. For Father Munari, the issue in Jerusalem’s Old City is entirely a spiritual one. “We know that Christians have done many bad things to Jews throughout history. But here I think it is not a matter of history, but a religious matter of impurity,” he stressed. “Because in their minds we represent idolatry.”


Personal clarification by the author

All of the above occurred in the Old City of Jerusalem, a small confined space where the most outwardly-religious Jews, the most outwardly-religious Christians and the most-outwardly religious Muslims live in the closest possible proximity to one another, making it a natural flashpoint.

What happens there between these factions is hardly representative of the country as a whole.

I am a Gentile Christian, as are my wife and seven children.

In the small town outside of Jerusalem in which we live, everyone from our next-door neighbors to our children’s friends at school knows that we are Gentile Christians. And we have suffered exactly zero instances of discrimination or religious hate as a result of that. In fact, everyone treats us just as they would any other Israeli family.

Father Munari also wasn’t trying to paint Israel in general as anti-Christian, though his interview will no doubt be used as fuel by those who do make that accusation. He acknowledged that in other parts of Jerusalem, among other groups of Israeli Jews, he is at best treated with respect and curiosity, and at worst he is ignored.

In short, Christians are not in danger in the Holy Land. And among many, if not most Israeli Jews, we are increasingly seen as natural allies. At least those of us who choose to ally ourselves with Israel (be grafted in) in accordance to scripture.


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16 responses to “Why Are Jews Attacking Christians in Jerusalem?”

  1. Jake Wilson says:

    Yeshua said, “Call no man father on earth,” exempting of course ones parent.

    So, why do so-called Yeshua believers honor idolaters by addressing them with “Father”?

    Anyone who does a bit more than blindly trusting Arnold Fruchtenbaum or parroting John 1:1, knows that the supposed “Holy Trinity” is an abomination in the sight of God, and Exodus 20 forbids us to make graven images. And the veneration of the cross, an ancient sun-worship symbol, is sickening.

    It seems, “Israel Today” has chosen to hold hands with its archenemy (Rome Papal) in order not to offend.

    • AdinoBenaiah says:

      1 Timothy 2:5 KJV
      For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

      1 John 5:7 KJV
      For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

      John 10:30 KJV
      I and my Father are one.

      We agree – Catholicism is religious buffoonery. But calling the trinity an abomination is equally naive. Quoting scripture is not “parroting”, for all scripture is given by inspiration of God. (2 Tim 3:16). Maybe a bit more study would allow you to rightly divide the word of truth.

      2 Timothy 2:15 KJV
      Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

  2. Disciple 1978 says:

    Whilst being sympathetic to biblical injunctions against idolatry Father Munari will not be able to change Roman Catholic practices from within. Many others have tried and have been left with no option but to leave and join with others whom the Lord leads on the messianic journey.
    The world will have to come to terms with biblical expression now that God has again raised up Israel, His servant, in the midst of them. 2000 years of church history has prepared the world for just such a time as this. Some of us have less trouble with the transformation than others, but the millennium reign of Christ is going to be a reality for us all.

  3. Anna Puffer says:

    So as LGBTQ+ runs wild in Israel, they pick a statue of Jesus as the most important idol in the land?

  4. Jake Wilson says:

    Parrots erect their idol on “the Word was God” without studying and thus not realizing the meaning of THEOS / ELOHIM in this context.

    The Trinitarian phrase in 1 Jn 5.7 appears only in 4 of some 5,000 known Greek MSS, and none of those 4 MSS date before 1400 CE. Today, it’s only found in the KJV/NKJV plus a handful of others Bibles. Fifty versions that omit it can be found at biblegateway.[com]

    Jn 14.28 reads, “The Father is greater than me.” If A > B, then A ≠ B.

    The Son is one with the Father in thought, in purpose, in endeavour, in
    agreement, in character, and in love. As per Eph 5:31, my wife and I are also one, and yet I am the head (and she is not me).

    “The head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Cor 11.3)

    Being regenerate, as per 1 Cor 6.17 it even would be correct to state, “I and the Adon are one.” Yet that spiritual union doesn’t mean I am Jesus.

    • AdinoBenaiah says:

      Great. So what does the scripture mean in Psalm 12:6-7 when it says his words would be preserved pure and perfect for every generation forever and purified 7 times? 1)Hebrew 2)Aramaic 3)Greek 4)Syrian 5)Latin 6)German 7)English – you have the word of God preserved just as he promised. It’s called a King James Bible. Every scholar and theologian have one main issue – they all believe they are smarter than God. “But the Greek says…”, “the context in the original states”, blah, blah, blah. It’s not as difficult as you all make it out to be, ye of little faith. I trust God, not the intellect of “scholars” that have been educated beyond their intelligence.

  5. Jake Wilson says:

    God has preserved his words, but Ps 12.6-7 doesn’t say He used the KJV for it (note: the Trinity dogma goes commonly hand in hand with the KJV-only dogma).

    Since God cannot be tempted (Jam 1.13), how can Jesus, who was tempted, be God (Mt 4.1)?

    And since God cannot die (1 Tim 6.16), how can Jesus, who died, be God?

    And since God knows everything (1 Jn 3.20), how can Jesus, who doesn’t know the day of his own return, be God (Mk 13.32)?

    I am not a scholar. To figure that Yeshua is not God, an average brain will normally do, but because the Trinity dogma is demonic (1 Tim 4.1), people are driven to idolize the Messiah; they are driven to equate the bar Enash with the Ancient of Days (Dan 7.13).

    Needless to say that the adversary is very pleased, since he knows it will cost the Gentiles their salvation (Rev 21.8).

    And while the Jewish people will be cleansed from their idols (Ezek 36.25), it is very sad to see them embrace the central dogma of their archenemy.

    • AdinoBenaiah says:

      As most, you are thinking in typical human fashion, rather than believing what the scripture says…and it says, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. It does not say, faith cometh by scholarships correction of the word of God.

      If you believe what Psalm 12:6-7 says – then where is his pure and perfect word preserved for this generation? He promised to do it. Are you suggesting God is a liar?

      The majority of people prefer to tell us what God meant rather than believe what He actually said.

      We are created in the likeness of God. Body, Soul, Spirit. My body can still sin, but seeing I am saved, my soul no longer can. All three, my body, my soul, and my spirit are made up in one – yet they are different. Instead of asking me, or anyone else, to explain the unexplainable – ask God to show you the truth.

      It starts with believing God is more capable than all our feeble intellects combined can grasp. Not liking what the Bible says does not make it any less factual.

      • Jake Wilson says:

        As colorful as your illustration is, I prefer Scripture, and Scripture explains Scripture; and true Scripture doesn’t contradict itself.

        “There is only one God – the Father.” (1 Cor 8.6)

        Do you believe that verse? Do you accept it with childlike faith? Or are you driven to contradict it by saying, “No!! The Son is also God!!!”

        Rather than looking at difficult, ambiguous verses, it’s always good to start with simple ones which explain others such as John 1:1.

        But I suppose someone who is willing to ignore that for 1,400 years the Bible didn’t contain the Trinitarian phrase in 1 John 5:7, will do anything to uphold their idol. Personally, I believe that God had preserved his word already before 1400 CE.

        Maybe we should leave it at that, toda.

        • AdinoBenaiah says:

          You failed to answer the question about Scripture. Where can Gods pure and preserved words be found for this generation? He promised to do it – go read Ps 12:6-7 again, thus your response only strengthens my point.
          You’re a Bible corrector – which means you believe you’re smarter than God.
          Pretty sure your future is well explained in Revelation 22:18-19. Toda.

        • AdinoBenaiah says:

          Your argument of 1 Cor 8:6 disputes your point entirely. Go read it! By whom are all things? Pretty sure it says by God – oh, and it says the same thing about the Lord Jesus Christ. You did not finish reading the verse…
          Picking and choosing the partial scripture you like, that’s scholarly Bible correcting 101.

          • Jake Wilson says:

            If Scripture tells you that only the Father is God, then this isn’t changed by the Son’s role (note: Heb 1:2 says that God made all things through His Son).

            Re. the pure words of 1 John 5:7, you can find them preserved in some 50 Bibles at biblegateway (as stated previously).

            I wish you well.

  6. AdinoBenaiah says:

    How can “pure and perfect” (God’s Words, not mind) be 50 different versions? For example, is the NIV correct? It removes entire portions of scripture (Matt. 18:11). All one syllable words – so difficult. Each of those 50 “updated” versions you reference came directly from Rome (Sinaiticus and Vaticanus). So now you defend Rome? Your original comment condemns Rome. Typical scholarship.

    The KJV follows the line which comes from Antioch (the Apostles). It’s the only version that does. Pure and perfect, just as God promised. By pure coincidence God used a King with a Jewish name to keep his promise. I wish you well discovering TRUTH – it’s a beautiful thing.

  7. psalm100al says:

    Spot on Adino! The KJV authorised version IS the preserved words of Almighty God, the only Bible with the power of God in it which is why it is alive just like our Lord Jesus Christ! Wouldn’t touch any other!

  8. Redeeming Love says:

    The word Trinity itself does not appear in Scripture, yet student of the Torah will perceive the self-revelation of G-d as Trinity. Bereshit 1:1 explains: “In the beginning G-d”, Christians assign this affirmation as to YHVH. Bereshit 1:2 continues: “and the ruach/spirit of G-d”, whereby the Spirit is identified. Next, Bereshit 1:3 proclaims: “Then G-d said, “Let there be light”, introducing the eternal Word. The Holy Trinity is thus: YHVH, His Spirit, and His Word = One G-d. Bereshit 1:26 thus continues: “Let us make humankind”… the Godhead, plural, initiating the formation of humanity.
    Regarding idolatry: As a gentile Christian, I believe statues have no place in Christianity. They are not needed absolutely. The cross, however, is symbolic of the altar where Yeshua was offered for the redemption of the world. Yeshua said it is parallel to Bemidbar 21:7-9. Yeshua is the offering, the cross is the instrument (see also Bereshit 22:1-19).

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