JERUSALEM – The wave of fanaticism and intimidation against Christians continues. Another threat, “Death to Arabs, Christians and all those who hate Israel”, was tagged on Monday, May 5, 2014, on a column in front of the Office of the Assembly of Bishops, Notre Dame of Jerusalem. Concerned, the Heads of the Churches in the Holy Land are preparing to respond.
The sentence in Hebrew is topped with a Star of David. Fr. Pietro Felet, secretary ACOHL and CELRA, was surprised by this sad discovery upon opening his office on Monday, May 5.
What makes the matter even more explicit and serious is the precise place where the threat was written: the office of ACOHL (Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land), on an external column of the Notre Dame Center Jerusalem opposite New Gate in the heart of the city of Jerusalem. Mere coincidence? The Notre Dame Center is property of the Holy See and this provocation comes two weeks before the Pope Francis’ visit to the Holy Land and Jerusalem.
Acts of vandalism and, especially, last week’s anti-Christian death threats in Galilee have aroused great emotion and solidarity. “For more than a week – says Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar for Israel – I was literally a ‘prisoner’, along with my collaborators, in the living room at the Patriarchal Vicariate in Nazareth where there were continuous visits by individuals and groups of various religions: Muslims, Druze, Christians of all denominations, Jewish academic circles and dialogue associations.”
But the faithful may have perceived a false note in these expressions of solidarity. Aside from the fact-finding visit to the local police, no gesture of solidarity and condemnation came the Israeli political side. It has shocked the faithful deeply: “We feel neither safe nor protected.”
The Bishops are very concerned about the lack of security and lack of responsiveness from the political sector, and fear an escalation of violence. There has been terror for some time, beginning with graffiti, then moved on to drilling holes in the tires of cars, various acts of vandalism and looting of properties or Christian symbols. Given the absence or weakness of prosecution, vandals have now come with personal threats. The recently published U.S. report on the phenomenon of Mekhir Tag (Price Tag) and other aspects of this terrorist vandalism is quite clear and disturbing. It lists more than 400 cases, the vast majority have gone unprosecuted.
Heads of the Churches in the Holy Land are preparing a series of actions aimed at informing local and international public opinion, and to make the authorities and law officials aware of their responsibilities.
From our Jerusalem correspondent. Photo L.P.