JERUSALEM — Greater than 30 graves at a historic Christian cemetery in Jerusalem have been discovered toppled and vandalized, the diocese mentioned 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 mentioned it was simply the most recent in a string of assaults on the Christian neighborhood within the holy metropolis of Jerusalem.
Law enforcement officials have been despatched to the Protestant Cemetery on Jerusalem’s Mount Zion to research the profanation. Mount Zion, related in Christian custom with the location of the Final Supper that Jesus shared together with his disciples the night time earlier than his crucifixion, can also be sacred to Jews and Muslims and has been on the middle of competing spiritual claims all through the decadeslong Israeli-Palestinian battle.
Broadly shared safety digicam 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 mentioned. The graves of three law enforcement officials, British residents serving within the police drive of what was then British-ruled Palestine, have been additionally vandalized.
The diocese cautioned that the desecration of the cemetery needs to be seen as an ominous warning about “hatred towards Christians.”
“Many stone crosses have been the targets of the vandals, clearly indicating that these felony acts have been motivated by spiritual bigotry,” it mentioned, urging authorities to redouble efforts to seek out the perpetrators.
The Protestant Cemetery on the commemorated Mount Zion simply outdoors Jerusalem’s Outdated Metropolis partitions was established in 1848 and was a part of territory that Israel seized within the 1967 Mideast struggle. The cemetery homes the graves of dozens of Palestinian law enforcement officials killed through 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 contemplate Mount Zion the normal 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 generally known as the Diaspora Yeshiva has taken over many buildings within the Mount Zion compound.
Some 16,000 Christians stay in Jerusalem, the vast majority 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 point out the three law enforcement officials whose graves have been additionally vandalized have been British residents within the police drive of what was then British-ruled Palestine.