Jewish leaders condemn harassment of Christians in Jerusalem

Published 08 January 2010
|PIC1|Ultra orthodox Jewish leaders in Jerusalem have denounced the harassment of Christian clergy.

Representatives of the Beth Din Tzedek, the tribunal of the Orthodox Jewish Community, acknowledged in a letter to the Holy See this week that “irresponsible” youths within its fold were harassing and insulting Christian clergy in the city.

The harassment includes spitting and cursing at priests and nuns, and painting anti-Christian graffiti on the walls of churches and holy places, reports Catholic news agency Zenit.

Such actions, the Jewish leaders said, “desecrated” God’s name and were “liable to bring tragic consequences upon our own community”.

"We hereby call upon anyone who has the power to end these shameful incidents through persuasion, to take action as soon as possible to remove these hazards, so that our community may live in peace,” the leaders stated.

The ultra Orthodox Rabbi Shlomo Papenheim has met representatives of the Israeli foreign ministry to discuss the letter and the incidents of harassment.

The Rev Samuel Aghoyan, an Armenian Orthodox cleric, was quoted by the National Catholic Reporter as saying that he had been spat upon as many as 20 times, most recently in November.

“I was walking back from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and I saw this boy in a yarmulke and ritual fringes coming back from the Kotel, and he spat at me two or three times,” Aghoyan said.

“Every [Christian cleric in the Old City] who’s been here for awhile, who dresses in robes in public, has a story to tell about being spat at. The more you get around, the more it happens.”

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