In Holy Land, Churches denounce persistent anti-Christian attacks
For the past ten years there has been a notable increase in the number of anti-Christian attacks and incidents in the Holy Land. Perpetrated by Jewish hardliners, they have been regularly denounced by the Christian Churches of the Holy Land, who have appealed about them to the civil authorities. Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) spoke about the situation with Auxiliary Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, who is the patriarchal vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine.
There have been instances of spitting, insults, offensive graffiti, and acts of vandalism targeting Christian places of worship. Dozens of such attacks of all types have been counted over the past decade, with more than five recorded cases over the course of the past two years. On the positive side, the bishop acknowledged that these incidents are routinely condemned by the Israeli government, the media and Israeli public opinion.
But action frequently fails to materialize. An exception was the June 2015 arson attack on the shrine of the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes in northern Israel, for which the perpetrators were arrested and convicted.
“It is undoubtedly a question of education, and one that is caused by a more general problem of a certain cultural outlook, namely the refusal to accept the diversity of the other,” Bishop Marcuzzo said.
‘The Churches are raising these problems at every level and on numerous occasions, but since their voice is not backed by political and financial weight (we are only 2 percent of the population), it is still not being heard, which moreover raises the problem of legal protection and minority rights,” Bishop Marcuzzo said.
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In featured picture: A priest inspects the damage caused to the Church of the Multiplication at Tabgha, on the Sea of Galilee, which was set on fire in an arson attack.