Dozens of Christian graves torn down, defaced at historic Jerusalem cemetery: ‘Clear hate crime’Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Dozens of Christian graves were found defaced and collapsed in a historic Jerusalem cemetery, and Israeli police said they had arrested two people in connection with the crime.
Police officers were sent to the Protestant cemetery of Jerusalem’s Mount Zion to investigate the crime at a site associated in Christian tradition with the Last Supper that Jesus shared with his disciples the night before his crucifixion and is also sacred to Jews and Muslims.
At the site, they found about 30 Christian tombstones that had been knocked down and vandalized.
Widely circulated security camera footage on Sunday showed two young men — both wearing Jewish skullcaps and tzitzit, the tied ritual fringes worn by observant Jews — breaking into the cemetery, knocking down stone crosses and smashing and trampling headstones, leaving a trail of debris and broken tombstones.
Israel’s foreign ministry called the attack an “immoral act” and an “insult to religion”. The Anglican Archbishop of Jerusalem, Hossam Naum, called it “a clear hate crime”. The British consulate said it was just the latest in a series of attacks on the Christian community in the holy city of Jerusalem.
Among the tombs destroyed was one containing a 19th-century bust of Samuel Gobat, the second Protestant bishop of Jerusalem, who died in 1879, the episcopal diocese said. The graves of three policemen, British citizens serving in the police force of what was then British-ruled Palestine were also vandalized.
The diocese warned that the desecration of the cemetery should be seen as an ominous warning of “hatred against Christians”.
“Any damage to religious institutions and sites is serious and harms the unique and delicate life that exists for members of all religions in the city,” Israel’s foreign ministry said. tweeted Friday. “We remain committed to maintaining security and order, and an uncompromising and determined fight against law breakers wherever they may be found.”
Israel’s Christian population grew by 2% in 2021 to a total of 185,000, representing 1.9% of Israel’s total population, The Times of Israel reports.
An estimated 70% of Christians live in the north of the country in cities such as Nazareth and Haifa, while around 13,000 call Jerusalem home.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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