JERUSALEM (LifeSiteNews) — An American Jewish tourist was arrested in Jerusalem on Wednesday for vandalizing a statue of Jesus Christ at the Church of the Flagellation, the first station along the Via Dolorosa, the Way of the Cross.
As explained in a statement from the Franciscan Friars of the Custody of the Holy Land, a “radical Jew entered the Church” and proceeded to tear down the statue of Christ and then “defaced the face of the statue” before being “immobilized by the shrine’s door keeper” until the police arrived.
The Franciscans go on to decry how such incidents have been escalating in recent weeks including “a group of religious Jews who entered the New Gate” near their headquarters and attacked tourists while committing acts of vandalism, “throwing chairs, tables and glasses, and transforming the Christian quarter into a battlefield.” According to the Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land, the police didn’t arrive for an hour, when they finally “took the attackers away.”
Other incidents mentioned include the desecration of a Christian cemetery in Jerusalem two weeks ago, “Death to Christians” graffiti being written on the walls of a monastery in the Armenian quarter, and vandalism to a Maronite center.
“We follow with concern and strongly condemn this growing succession of serious acts of hatred and violence against the Christian community in Israel,” the Franciscans continued.
“It is no coincidence that the legitimization of discrimination and violence in public opinion and in the current Israeli political environment also translates into acts of hatred and violence against the Christian community,” they added.
In December, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn into office for the sixth time with “the most right-wing government” in the nation’s history, including powerful minsters who espouse “racist and Jewish supremacist” views, according to Axios.
While concern over escalating violence against Christians and their shrines is heightened in the region, such attacks are not a new phenomenon. In fact, Israeli authorities adopted a deliberate policy of destroying, looting, and desecrating churches in Palestine during and after the 1948 war when the nation was founded.
Even today, there have been reports of radical Jewish individuals and groups in Jerusalem spitting on Christians, disrupting their prayer and likely firebombing their property, which Church authorities have routinely condemned.
In 2015, Jewish terrorists made international news when they torched the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes at Tabgha in Galilee, where Jesus Christ performed one of these two miracles recorded in the Gospels.
And similar to the lack of investigation and prosecution when it comes to the crimes of leftist terrorists in the United States — whether they be part of the Black Lives Matter terrorist crimes of 2020, or the proabortion terrorist acts in 2022 — crimes against Christians in Israel and Palestinian territories under Israeli military occupation are virtually never solved.
According to a 2017 report, within an eight-year timeframe, 53 churches and mosques were vandalized in these regions. Tag Meir, a local organization that “monitors hate crimes,” said it could only verify two cases that were actually solved, one being the arson case at Tabgha.
Tag Meir Chairman Gadi Gvaryahu said, “Without a doubt, they aren’t looking hard enough,” and added that “some crimes remain unsolved despite security camera footage that included images of the suspected vandals’ cars.”
Even in recent years, Jewish religious leaders in Israel preached support for Jewish terrorist groups who burn Christian churches and usually desecrate these targets with graffiti, even threatening to kill Christians in the region.
In December 2021, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant leaders in the Holy Land sounded an alarm with a formal letter addressing “countless incidents of physical and verbal assaults against priests and other clergy, attacks on Christian churches, with holy sites regularly vandalized and desecrated, and ongoing intimidation of local Christians.”
They called these terrorist tactics “a systematic attempt to drive” Christians “out of Jerusalem and other parts of the Holy Land” while lamenting with “grave concern” how “the declared commitment of the Israeli government to uphold a safe and secure home for Christians in the Holy Land … is betrayed by the failure of local politicians, officials and law enforcement agencies to curb the [violent] activities of radical groups.”
Following the arrest of the Jewish man who desecrated the statue of Jesus Christ on Thursday, the Israel Police released a statement affirming they take “damage to religious institutions and sites very seriously,” their force remains “unwavering in its efforts against lawbreakers wherever they may be, including those who harm holy places and religious sentiments.”
Also, according to OSV News, the police reported “the man, in his 40s, had been taken in for questioning and was undergoing mental health evaluation.”
While back in the United States, the number of adults who self-identify as Christian has been declining, it is still a high majority at 69%. Yet, as described by best-selling authors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt (The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, 2007), American taxpayers provide “Israel with a level of support dwarfing the amounts provided to any other state,” currently including, but not limited to, $3.8 billion annually, despite polls in the U.S. finding such “largess” to be unpopular.
Christian bishops in Holy Land say ‘fringe radical groups’ are trying to drive them out of Jerusalem