Rabbis condemn attacks on Israel's Christian sites

By Jessica Elgot, February 29, 2012
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The culprits who graffittied Christian buildings are believed to be extremist settlers.

The culprits who graffittied Christian buildings are believed to be extremist settlers.

Leading rabbis have condemned the recent attacks on Christian sites in Jerusalem, calling the graffiti “un-Jewish and something that pains us all.”

Vandals in Jerusalem spray painted “Death to Christians” and “We’ll crucify you” on the Baptist Church in Jerusalem and similar hate graffiti on a Greek Orthodox monastery in the city. The culprits are believed to be extremist settlers, who have also targeted Muslim sites and Israeli military equipment.

The Conference of European Rabbis said it was “deeply concerned by recent attacks on Christian sites”.

CER President, Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, said: “These actions contradict both the spirit and the letter of the Torah. Throughout the history of the state of Israel, the Jewish state has protected the religious rights of those of all faiths. We must ensure that citizens of all faiths as well as those visiting the country are treated with respect for their religious traditions.”

The pope’s custodian in Israel, Pierbattista Pizzaballa, last week wrote to Israel’s president Shimon Peres, warning that “red lines have been crossed and we cannot remain silent,” and asked him to put an end to the attacks, despite none of the targets being Catholic places of worship.

He said: “These shocking slogans sprayed on Christian sites of prayer, especially in Jerusalem, hurt the feelings of all the Christians in Israel, regardless of their creed, as well as hundreds of thousands of pilgrims visiting Jerusalem and the holy land, and millions more worldwide.”

The president said he took the attacks “very seriously” and said his advisers were working with Jerusalem City Hall to find the perpetrators.

Last updated: 3:55pm, February 29 2012