Israel: extremists vandalize Christian shrine

religion | May 31, 2013 | By Martin Barillas

Israeli extremists are suspected in an act of vandalism at the Church of the Dormition in Jerusalem’s Old City. The church is built over the site where, many Christians believe, the Virgin Mary was assumed bodily into heaven at the point of her death. Government spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that spray painted slogans were found on the exterior walls of the revered church early on May 31. He said that vandals tagged the church with slogans that included the words ‘price tag’ scrawled in Hebrew. Police are investigating.
 
‘Price tag’ is a phrase often used by fringe groups of Jewish extremists who denounce Israeli policies they believe favor Palestine. Such acts of vandalism often come following attacks on Israel by Palestinian terrorist groups. Not only Christian sites, but also mosques, anti-war Jewish Israeli groups, and Israeli military bases, have been subjected to similar ‘price tag’ vandalism in recent years. The ‘price’ to which the vandals refer is retribution or vengeance for Israeli government policy and Palestinian assaults.
 
In addition to ‘price tag’ graffiti, vandals also scrawled slogans such as ‘Christians are monkeys’ and ‘Christians are slaves,’ in addition to ‘Havat Maon’: a reference to a Jewish settlement on the West Bank of the Jordan River.
 
This week, extremist Jewish settlers set three cars alight and also defaced a mosque in a Wadi Ara village. Vandals scrawled offensive anti-Arab slogans, but also the Star of David and ‘price tag’ on the mosque. In December 2012, clashes erupted between Muslims and Jews when price-tag extremists entered the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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