CV NEWS FEED // Israeli Police have interrogated and placed two young Orthodox Jews on house arrest for committing several hate crimes against a Catholic priest in Jerusalem’s Old City on Saturday.
Videos circulated on social media over the weekend show the two young Orthodox Jews harassing the abbot of Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion, Fr Nikodemus Schnabel as he was walking past Zion Gate.
One of the young men,17, spat on Schnabel and shouted expletives against Jesus. Footage also showed the same youth cursing Schnabel and a local man who tried to come to the priest’s defence. A second youth is seen in the videos also shouting expletives.
According to a report from the Jerusalem Post, Israeli police condemned the attack, stating:
The Israel Police remains steadfast in its commitment to ensuring the safety of residents, worshipers, and visitors in the Old City of Jerusalem, encompassing individuals from all religions and backgrounds. Any harm inflicted upon an individual based on their religion, faith, or any other motive will be addressed promptly and with zero tolerance.
The police will persist in taking action against anyone attempting to disrupt the way of life, public peace, and personal security in the Old City and beyond.
The report also noted that Schnabel, “who is well-known for his support for dialogue and co-existence,” has been the target of anti-Catholic harassment and spitting attacks on several occasions in the past.
Schnabel stated in the report that he was praying for the two young men, and that he hoped police would start taking the rise in anti-Christian attacks more seriously, and that people of all faiths would become united in combating discrimination:
This would be my desire, that we are together fighting antisemitism, Christian hate, and Muslim hate, and that it not be the hooligans of religion who have the main part in the religious landscape but rather the God-seekers.
The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem released a statement on Facebook condemning the “unprovoked and shameful assault on Abbot Nikodemus Schabel.”
The statement continued:
The Patriarchate was informed that the perpetrators were arrested by the Police immediately after the event.
The persecution of the perpetrators of such hate crimes is an important tool for enhancing the sense of security of the Christian clergy in the Holy Land, particularly in Jerusalem.
The most recent spitting attack occurred on the same day that Pope Francis released a letter calling for the release of hostages still held by Hamas.
“The path that the Church has walked with you, the ancient people of the covenant, rejects every form of anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism, unequivocally condemning manifestations of hatred toward Jews and Judaism as a sin against God,” Pope Francis stated in the letter, adding that his “heart is torn” at the ongoing war engulfing the Holy Land.