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Haaretz: Jerusalem Christians are Latest Targets in Recent Spate of ‘Price Tag’ Attacks

Some more analysis of the ongoing “price tag” attacks against Muslims and Christians in Israel:

Jerusalem Christians are latest targets in recent spate of ‘price tag’ attacks

“Price tag” graffiti was spray-painted in Jerusalem again Sunday night, with vandals this time targeting a downtown church.

The attack on the Narkis Street Baptist Congregation marks the latest in a series of price tag attacks that have targeted Muslim, Christian and leftist institutions in the capital over the last two months. But police believe most of the vandalism is not the work of an organized group; rather, they say, the spray-painted slogans are largely copycat actions carried out by lone individuals.

The original price tag attacks, in contrast, were thought to be the work of a group of settlers seeking to set a “price tag” on house demolitions in the settlements via retaliatory attacks on Palestinians and/or Israeli soldiers.

The attacks during the past two months have included the torching of cars belonging to Arab residents of Jerusalem’s Kiryat Moshe neighborhood; spray-painting slogans on a Christian cemetery on Mount Zion; spray-painting slogans on Peace Now’s office in the capital, as well as the house of Peace Now activist Hagit Ofran; threats against Peace Now secretary general Yariv Oppenheimer; and an arson attack on an ancient mosque in the city’s Geula neighborhood. Over the last week alone, a bilingual school and two churches have been vandalized, including the Baptist church vandalized Sunday.

In both church attacks, the vandals spray-painted slogans denouncing Christianity, Jesus and Mary, such as “Jesus is dead,” “Death to Christianity” and “Mary was a prostitute.” They also included the by-now customary “price tag” slogan.

The Jerusalem police said they have arrested several suspects in this spate of attacks, including one for the attacks on Peace Now and one for the vandalism of the bilingual school. The latter suspect, arrested last week, said he vandalized the school to avenge the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team’s loss to two Arab teams two weeks ago, according to police. Police believe that many of the other attacks are similarly motivated by ordinary hooliganism, rather than ideology.

“It’s intolerably easy,” one senior Jerusalem police officer said. “Any child can take a spray can and spray it, and people know it will be broadcast. Not every case is really nationalistic.”

But to victims, the motive is irrelevant. Jerusalem’s Christian community increasingly feels under assault, and that is especially true for Christians living in Jewish neighborhoods. Priests in the Old City, especially Armenian priests who must often transit the Jewish Quarter, say they are spat on almost daily.

“It’s almost impossible to pass through Jaffa Gate without this happening,” said a senior priest at one Jerusalem church.

The spitting has become so prevalent that some priests have simply stopped going to certain parts of the Old City.

The Baptist church has been attacked twice before: It was torched in 1982 and again in 2007. “We mainly feel sad” about the attacks, said the church’s pastor, Charles Kopp. “It hurts us that anyone could even think we deserve such treatment. They don’t know us, but they apparently oppose anyone who doesn’t identity with them. I wish them well; I have no desire for revenge.”

Baptist priests don’t normally walk around in priestly garb, but Kopp said he would be afraid to walk through the Old City if he did.

Jacob Avrahami, the mayor’s advisor on the Christian community, visited the Baptist church on Monday to condemn the attacks. “They feel besieged; you can see it on them,” he said.

Dr. Gadi Gevaryahu, whose Banish the Darkness organization works to combat racism, said his big fear is that “one day, they’ll attack a mosque or a church with people inside and there will be a terrible conflagration here.”

“Over the last two years, 10 mosques have been torched here, and today it’s clear that it’s not just aimed at Palestinians or Muslims, but at foreigners in general,” he said.

Gevaryahu also offered a practical suggestion: Security cameras, he said, should be installed on every sensitive building in the city.

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  • khushboo

    Well let’s see Rabbi… there are Jewish and Christian bankers that have crippled our economy but they got bonuses instead of being imprisoned for deceiving us. Are they being investigated for the debt they caused us which is much worse than the perceived threat??


  • juju

    Jews and Muslims and Christians have so much in common. It should not be a point of conflict. When we meet someone that share are commonalities, we gravitate towards them. We don’t attack. Only if Jews and Muslims and Christians can remind themselves of this.

  • Norman

    Oh the irony! They can’t tolerate foreigners, when they themselves are imported from Russia and claim to have historical ties to the holy land even though there is no ancestral connection with ancient Israelites!

  • H. Torrance Griffin

    I repeat. Anyone interested in actual peace needs to get thier heads around the idea that the Christians (& Muslims, & Jews) are not going anywhere.

  • Géji

    > “wrote that Arab Christians across the region are blaming the troubles brought on by the so-called “Arab Spring” not on the Muslims hijacking the pro-democracy uprisings,”

    Why would Muslims in the region be “hijacking” their own democracy uprising? weren’t they the ones who initiated in the first place, died for, and are still dying for?. And as a matter of fact even ‘conservative’ Muslim brotherhood of Jordan couple of days ago, called for a Libyan style “Jihad” in the struggle to uproot the Assad regime.

  • Géji

    < "“Over the last two years, 10 mosques have been torched here, and today it’s clear that it’s not just aimed at Palestinians or Muslims, but at foreigners in general,” he said."

    LOOOL, "foreigners in general"? seriously?. Is it me? or the guy just described the Christian/Muslim Palestinians living in the land as being "foreigners in general".

  • NurAlia

    Oh please, lets try and change the topic.

    Lets not even discuss that Christians are being persecuted in Israel..,or even acknolwedge that there are Christians at all in Israel and Palistine.

    Lets bring up some irrelvent topic such as what happens in Afganistan, or what a student thinks of the ‘Arab Spring’.

    Let us never speak ill of the very holy alliance of Christians and Jews, working hand in hand to bring peace to the world…through oppression of those evil, bad, devils called Muslims.

    Sarcasm of course…but I did notice that since chatters cant attack or blame Muslims for this, they want to change the topic.

  • Al

    “Is-it-real?” -the only democracy in the Middle East(TM)- never ceases to amaze me…

  • mindy1

    🙁 There will never be peace as long as things like this happen

  • Globe Trotter

    I would love to see the look on pro-Israel Christians about whats happening to Palestinian Christians, especially the dastardly “John Hagee”. Yet, the Arab Christians DO NOT support the Zionists:

    “…But an Arab Christian commentator warned in an article republished by The Jerusalem Post that the Middle East Arab Church is as much an enemy of the Jews as the Muslim fundamentalists.

    Aymenn Jawad, a student at Oxford University with family in Baghdad, wrote that Arab Christians across the region are blaming the troubles brought on by the so-called “Arab Spring” not on the Muslims hijacking the pro-democracy uprisings, but rather on a “Jewish conspiracy.”

    Arab Christians in general view the current regional turmoil as just another chapter in the ongoing Jewish conspiracy to take over the world”.

  • Believing Atheist

    Latest Islamophobic news. Again I don’t know where to put this. You guys should have a section where I can put stuff, but here goes,

    Just in today: More than 2,000 angry Afghans rallied outside of a U.S. air force base on Tuesday after learning that Muslim holy books, including copies of the Quran, had been burned in a pile of garbage outside the Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul.

    Looking to quell the uproar, the commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan quickly issued an apology for what he said was an unintentional mistake, admitting that military personnel had “improperly disposed” of the books and promising a full investigation, the New York Times reports.

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