Concerns grow over rising attacks against Christian sites in Israel


Recent incidents of violence and attacks against Christians and Christian sites in Israel have raised alarm among the small Christian minority living in the country. According to Farid Jubran, general counsel of the Catholic Church’s Custody of the Holy Land, there has been a significant increase in various types of violence, including spitting, site attacks, and provocations in the past year.

The Religious Freedom Data Center, which was recently established, reported 20 incidents in July alone, but many incidents may go unreported. In January, nearly 30 graves at a Protestant cemetery on Mount Zion were vandalized, leading to the arrest of two Orthodox Jewish teenagers.

Subsequent incidents include attacks on the Taboon Armenian restaurant, vandalism at the Church of the Flagellation, attacks during Mass at the Church of Gethsemane, and damage to the Cenacle or Upper Room on Mount Zion.

A new flashpoint emerged when ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jews started praying outside the Stella Maris Carmelite monastery in Haifa, claiming it was built on the tomb of the prophet Elisha. Wadie Abunassar, coordinator of the Holy Land Christian Forum, expressed concern about the lack of sufficient action from state authorities in response to such incidents.

Internal Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s association with an anti-assimilation group and the rise of Jewish nationalism have contributed to the atmosphere where some radical Jews feel immune. The Religious Freedom Data Center aims to monitor incidents and promote legal action and international advocacy for Christian protection in Israel.

Christians comprise about 1.9% of Israel’s population, and church leaders fear that continued attacks may lead to an exodus of Christians seeking security abroad. Proper education about Christianity in Israeli schools is seen as crucial to combating the rise of Jewish nationalism and dispelling misinformation about Christians.


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