In Israel, Anti-Christian Acts Are Increasing

Source: FSSPX News

In a report published on June 4, 2024, the Rossing Center for Education and Dialogue, an organization based in Jerusalem, points out an increase in attacks against Christians in the Jewish State, especially in the East part of the Holy City, during the year 2023.

The massacres perpetrated by the terrorist organization Hamas against the State of Israel on October 7, 2023, causing the death of 1,160 people and the taking of 240 civilians as hostages, have tended to eclipse another more discreet but still dramatic news story: that of the alarming increase in anti-Christian acts in Israeli territory during the year 2023.

The Times of Israel, which comments on the report in an article, summarizes the group’s findings: “In 2023, according to the group, there were 11 instances of verbal harassment, seven violent attacks, 32 attacks on church properties, a cemetery desecration, and 30 formally reported cases of spitting at or toward clergy and pilgrims. The report noted that every clergy member the Rossing Center spoke to in 2023 said they were spit at multiple times a week.”

The researchers believe that these figures are incomplete, because many victims remain reluctant to testify for fear of reprisals or ignorance of their rights.

The report says the increase in attacks is “linked to the broader socio-political climate”: “The ongoing shift towards the far-right, a growing sense of nationalism, and the emphasis on Israel primarily as a state for the Jewish population have collectively undermined both the legal and perceived sense of equality for any minority within the country.”

The Times of Israel indicates that “The more violent attacks are carried about by young adults from ‘the marginalized part of ultra-Orthodox society,’ Hana Bendcowsky, director of the Rossing Center’s Jerusalem Center for Jewish – Christian Relations,” said.

 “The harassment comes from a range of Israeli men — from children to adults, right-wing settlers to ultra-Orthodox — but all religious, she said,” according to The Times of Israel.

The report offers a series of recommendations to Israeli authorities to combat this phenomenon: strengthening the presence and intervention of the police at sensitive sites; training the police and local authorities on Christian communities; improving school curricula on Christianity; a firmer condemnation of these acts by the authorities.

Finally, the Rossing Center encourages Christians to report attacks against them and urges Jewish religious leaders to strongly condemn these acts of violence and to break the double standards in which they seem to be trapped.

22% of Israeli Arabs currently live within the Jewish State, including a minority of Christians. The latter are often caught between the Muslims, who consider them apostates, and the Jews, who see them as second-class citizens.

An Effort by President Isaac Herzog

The Times of Israel reports the efforts made by the Israeli president over the past year. “[A]s part of his recent efforts to bring public awareness to the issue of the safety of the Christian community, President Isaac Herzog visited Haifa’s Stella Maris Monastery to meet with Christian leaders.

“’In recent months, we have witnessed extremely serious phenomena in the treatment of members of Christian communities in the Holy Land, our brothers and sisters, Christian citizens, who feel attacked in their places of prayer and their cemeteries, on the street,’ said Herzog in front of the 19th-century Carmelite monastery.’”