[Official] Global March To Jerusalem – Jerusalem monastery vandalised in hate crime
Wednesday, 3 October 2012 / By Adrian Blomfield, The Telegraph – Suspected Jewish extremists stepped up a campaign against Christian sites in Israel yesterday by vandalising a monastery in Jerusalem close to some of the faith’s most revered places of pilgrimage.
Vandals scrawled the words “Jesus, son of a whore” on the gates of the Monastery of St Francis, part of a complex on Mt Zion held by tradition to mark the spot of the Last Supper and the death of the Virgin Mary.
The attack was at least the fourth on a Christian place of worship this year and the second in under a month.
Alongside the graffiti, the extremists added the phrase “price tag” to identify themselves as radical champions of the Jewish settler movement in the West Bank.
The “price tag” campaign, which has been underway for years, is spearheaded by extremist settlers protesting any attempt by the Israeli government to curb Jewish construction in the West Bank that has not been sanctioned by the occupying authorities.
In recent months those behind the campaign have increasingly sought to carry out acts of desecration and arson against mosques and churches to draw attention to their cause.
As devout Jews, they also regard Christian and Muslim sites as an intrusion on Jewish soil.
Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, condemned the incident, saying: “Price tag actions are contrary to the Jewish religion and cause great harm to Israel. Holy sites must not be harmed.”
Although most Israeli politicians have spoken out against the mounting attacks on non-Jewish places of worship, a senior Vatican official recently accused the government of failing to respond adequately to protect Christian sites.
Fr Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who as Custodian of the Holy Land is charged with overseeing Christian sites on behalf of the Vatican, also criticized an educational culture in Israel that he said encouraged Jewish children to treat Christians with “contempt”.
Warning of a growing sense of persecution among followers of the faith, he said that life for many Christians in Israel was growing “intolerable”.
Earlier this month the door of a famous Trappist monastery in the town of Latroun was set on fire, while earlier this year the 11th century Monastery of the Cross in Jerusalem was also vandalised.
In both cases anti-Christian slogans reading “Death to Christians” and “Jesus is a monkey” were daubed across the buildings.
Although such incidents are the work of a minority, Christian clergymen who walk the winding streets of Jerusalem’s old city say they are spat at and taunted by ultra-Orthodox Jews and their children on an almost daily basis.