JERUSALEM — Greater than 30 graves at a historic Christian cemetery in Jerusalem had been discovered toppled and vandalized, the diocese stated Wednesday, jolting the Christian minority within the contested metropolis.
Israel’s Overseas Ministry referred to as the assault an “immoral act” and “an affront to faith.” Jerusalem’s Anglican Archbishop Hosam Naoum referred to as it a “clear hate crime.” The British consulate stated it was simply the newest in a string of assaults on the Christian group within the holy metropolis of Jerusalem.
Law enforcement officials had been despatched to the Protestant Cemetery on Jerusalem’s Mount Zion to analyze the profanation. Mount Zion, related in Christian custom with the positioning of the Final Supper that Jesus shared along with his disciples the evening earlier than his crucifixion, can be sacred to Jews and Muslims and has been on the heart of competing non secular claims all through the decadeslong Israeli-Palestinian battle.
Extensively shared safety digital camera footage on Sunday confirmed two younger males — each carrying a Jewish skullcap and tzitzit, the knotted ritual fringes worn by observant Jews — breaking into the cemetery, knocking over stone crosses and smashing and stomping on tombstones, leaving a path of particles and damaged headstones.
Among the many destroyed tombs was one containing a nineteenth century bust of Samuel Gobat, the second Protestant Bishop in Jerusalem who died in 1879, the Episcopal diocese stated. The graves of three law enforcement officials, British residents serving within the police pressure of what was then British-ruled Palestine, had been additionally vandalized.
The diocese cautioned that the desecration of the cemetery needs to be seen as an ominous warning about “hatred in opposition to Christians.”
“Many stone crosses had been the targets of the vandals, clearly indicating that these felony acts had been motivated by non secular bigotry,” it stated, urging authorities to redouble efforts to seek out the perpetrators.
The Protestant Cemetery on the honored Mount Zion simply outdoors Jerusalem’s Outdated Metropolis partitions was established in 1848 and was a part of territory that Israel seized within the 1967 Mideast warfare. The cemetery homes the graves of dozens of Palestinian law enforcement officials killed throughout the First and Second World Wars in addition to Christian leaders who died within the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Jewish extremists have defaced church property on Mount Zion up to now years. Jews take into account Mount Zion the standard burial place of the biblical King David and a few ultra-Orthodox and nationalist activists have opposed Christian prayer rights on the web site. A Jewish seminary referred to as the Diaspora Yeshiva has taken over many buildings within the Mount Zion compound.
Some 16,000 Christians dwell in Jerusalem, nearly all of whom are Palestinian. Israel claims Jerusalem as its everlasting capital, whereas Palestinians need east Jerusalem because the capital for his or her hoped-for impartial state.
This story has been clarified to indicate the three law enforcement officials whose graves had been additionally vandalized had been British residents within the police pressure of what was then British-ruled Palestine.