An Israeli journalist went undercover in occupied East Jerusalem to personally witness the extent of harassment inflicted upon Christian clergy by Jewish extremists within the Old City.
Yossi Eli of Channel 13 donned a Franciscan garb for a stroll in Jerusalem’s Old City but didn’t think the experience would be so “intense nor that the harassment would be so widespread”, he told La Croix, the online Catholic daily.
Attacks against Christian holy sites, including cemeteries and members of the clergy, have surged in the past few years, prompting heads of churches to issue a call for international protection. In one recent incident, worshipers were attacked by suspected Jewish fundamentalists inside the Church of the Tomb of the Virgin Mary in the Gethsemane.
In January, two Jewish settlers committed an act of vandalism at a Christian cemetery near Jaffa Gate, located outside the Old City of Jerusalem. Following that incident, in February, a Jewish-American tourist toppled a statue at a Catholic Church in the Old City near Bab al-Asbat (Lion’s Gate).
In the course of his walk dressed as a Franciscan monk, the investigative reporter was laughed at and spat at not once but twice.
“I heard the laughter, the remarks, I felt the glances, the animosity. It made me very uncomfortable”, Yossi Eli said.
But what surprised the reporter the most was the obscene conduct of one young Israeli soldier among a unit of conscripts. The soldier, Eli said, spat at him without any regard for the reaction of his superior officer.
“This subject passes completely under the radar of the Israeli media”, Yossi Eli remarked.
Tamer Maliha, a Palestinian Christian from occupied East Jerusalem, blamed the Israeli government for not taking appropriate action against the extremists.
“It’s all because of the government’s course of not applying a penalty”, he told The New Arab.
Maliha pointed to harassment by the Israeli police as well.
During the holidays, especially at Easter, the police prevent the majority of local Christians from reaching the Holy Sepulchre.
“Hatred by Jewish extremists towards Christians is far greater than their hatred towards Muslims”, he added.
ההצדקה של חלק מהקבוצות היהודיות לפשעי שנאה היא שמדובר ב״חולי רוח״. אז לא. התחקיר שלנו הוכיח שהתקיפות הן ממש לא של חולי רוח , אלא אנשים עם דעה צלולה שפשוט שונאים משהו שהם לא. שטפו להם את המוח שישו זה רע. צעירים קיצוניים, ילדים , והכי עצוב חיילים , “מלח הארץ” מביעים את שנאתם כלפי… pic.twitter.com/pBICUlRXFI
— Yossi Eli יוסי אלי (@Yossi_eli) June 25, 2023
By Ibrahim Husseini | newarab.com