World News

Israeli police arrest five people for hostile gestures towards Christians


Five people were arrested for spitting towards Christians and at churches in the Old City of Jerusalem on Wednesday. Israeli police set up a unique investigation group to deal with growing complaints of aggressive gestures against Christians.

This week the Israeli media released video footage in the Old City of Jerusalem featuring Orthodox Jews, including small children, spitting on the ground as they passed a group of foreign Christian pilgrims. The incident happened during the preparation of the city’s annual Jerusalem March, a celebration that welcomes huge crowds, including thousands of Christian pilgrims.

According to Jerusalem District Commander Doron Turgeman police would use security cameras, patrols and internet monitoring to fight these incidents, in addition to introducing administrative fines. “Unfortunately, we witness the continued disgraceful acts of hatred towards Christians in the Old City of Jerusalem, primarily through spitting by extremists”.

The small Christian community of this area confirmed they had been struggling with increasing harassment and intimidation from Jewish ultranationalists, especially since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard right government assumed official duties last year. The Prime Minister denounced the episode and promised to take “immediate and decisive action”. He posted on social media that “Israel is totally committed to safeguard the sacred right of worship and pilgrimage to the holy sites of all faiths. “

The Old City is the dwelling of some of the holiest sites for Jews, Christians and Muslims. Local communities have learnt to live together and tolerate each other, in spite of rising tension, especially around religious and national holidays. At the beginning of 2023, the Christian community in Israel was shaken by several acts of aggression, mainly targeting Armenians in Jerusalem.

According to World Watch Research analyst Henriette Kats: “There are more reports of such aggression and harassment than those listed above. For instance, a young Armenian man was attacked with pepper-spray, Jewish girls were seen tearing down funeral notices from an Armenian convent, a Jewish man was caught urinating at the entrance of the convent and Armenian priests have also been regularly spat upon by Jewish passers-by. Furthermore, ‘extremists have been distributing flyers around the Quarter inciting violence against Armenians’, according to a member of the Armenian community. It is not inconceivable that the radical Jewish perpetrators feel emboldened by the new government which took office in December 2022, since it is regarded as being the most right-wing administration ever.”


Leave a reply