Church Attacks in Israel 'Poison' Before Pope's Visit, Cleric Says

Sunday, 11 May 2014 03:51 PM

 

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
    A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
HAIFA, Israel — The top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land said on Sunday a spate of attacks against the Church had poisoned the atmosphere ahead of this month's visit by Pope Francis, and urged Israel to crack down on the perpetrators.

Fourteen attacks by suspected far-right Israelis have been reported in the past year. Several have been carried out over the last month, including a death threat daubed in Hebrew at the Assembly of Bishops at the Notre Dame Center in East Jerusalem.

The attacks have become known as "price tags" — a reference by ultranationalist Jews to making the Israeli government "pay" for any curbs on Jewish settlement on Palestinian land.

"There has been a marked increase of 'price tag' provocations within Israel," Fouad Twal, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, told reporters at a post-Easter procession in the city of Haifa, home to thousands of Israeli Arab church faithful.

Editor's Note: Health Benefits of Prayer Revealed!

"This wave of extremist actions of terror are surely of grave concern to all reasonable persons."

Twal said "the unrestrained acts of vandalism poison the atmosphere" ahead of Pope Francis' first pilgrimage to the Holy Land since ascending to the papacy. The pontiff will visit Jordan, the West Bank and Jerusalem from May 24 to 26.

Twal drew some encouragement from pledges by Israeli officials, notably Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, to crack down on "price tag" attackers.

But he added that until Israel's pledges to stop the vandalism "become acts, we remain sceptical."

"How can it be that they don't catch the perpetrators?" Twal said.

COURTS LENIENT

Israeli officials say they have arrested dozens of suspected "price-taggers", though few have been convicted in the courts. Police say there are only a few score culprits, many known by name, but about half are minors to whom judges show leniency.

Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo of Nazareth confirmed Israel had arrested a suspect for a threatening letter he received last month, which media reports said had been written in Hebrew.

Marcuzzo said the displays of intolerance were a "very dangerous" threat to Israeli-Arab coexistence.

"If we don't accept each other, we destroy this country," Marcuzzo said.

"Price tagging" has also occurred in Israeli military installations in the West Bank and Arab villages in Israel.

Twal said the attacks posed no particular safety threat to the pope's visit, and security arrangements were in hand.

"For sure these issues, vandalism, graffiti, is not a good sign," Twal told Reuters in an aside after his news conference, but pressed as to whether he feared for the pope's safety as a result, he replied:

"No, no we are not afraid for the safety of the pope ... The people are very happy to receive him, I'm sure."

The pontiff, who like his predecessors John Paul and Benedict has friendly ties with Jewish religious leaders, is due to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Notre Dame Center, located just outside the walls of the old city.

Editor's Note: Health Benefits of Prayer Revealed!

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Military Times: Mere 15% of Troops Approve of Obama

Monday, 22 Dec 2014 11:29 AM

President Obama's approval rating tanked to 15 percent this year among active-duty members of the armed services, reflec . . .

McCain, Graham Lead Calls for Tough Response to NKorea

Monday, 22 Dec 2014 09:51 AM

Although President Obama has said that the cyberattack on Sony Pictures' computer system by North Korea does not constit . . .

Morici: Obama Could Stifle North Korea's Shakedown of Sony

Monday, 22 Dec 2014 09:16 AM

The American people now have a censor , North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un. And they can thank President Obama's failure  . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved