Monday, February 1, 2016

Israeli Teens Indicted for Vandalizing Church; Graffiti on Walls Included "Christians to Hell"

The Jerusalem District Court indicted three Jewish teens yesterday for vandalizing a Jerusalem church with anti-Christian graffiti in January, the Times of Israel website reports today (February 1, 2016).

The three -- aged 16 and 15 -- were charged with religiously motivated destruction of property for the vandalism incident on January 16, which included the phrases "Christians to Hell," and "Death to the heathen Christians, the enemies of Israel," daubed on the walls of the Dormition Abbey.

Although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli lawmakers, and several rabbis condemned the incident, a spokesperson for the local Catholic Church denounced the lack of measures taken by authorities to stop the increasing number of hate crimes against Christians and churches in Israel in recent years.

"Despite promises by the government, these incidents continue to take place," Wadia Abu Nasser, the executive director of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops in the Holy Land, said at the time. "If we were to actually count all these incidents, they'd be in the hundreds."

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