Attack on Baptist Congregation marks the latest in series of attacks targeting Muslim, Christian and leftist institutions in Jerusalem over last two months.
Feb. 21, 2012 Ha’aretz
Over the last week alone, a bilingual school and two churches have been vandalized, including the Baptist church vandalized Sunday.
In both church attacks, the
vandals spray-painted slogans denouncing Christianity, Jesus and Mary, such as “Jesus is dead,” “Death to Christianity” and “Mary was a prostitute.” They also included the by-now customary “price tag” slogan.
But to victims, the motive is irrelevant. Jerusalem’s Christian community increasingly feels under assault, and that is especially true for Christians living in Jewish neighborhoods. Priests in the Old City, especially Armenian priests who must often transit the Jewish Quarter, say they are spat on almost daily.
“It’s almost impossible to pass through Jaffa Gate without this happening,” said a senior priest at one Jerusalem church.
The spitting has become so prevalent that some priests have simply stopped going to certain parts of the Old City.
The Baptist church has been attacked twice before: It was torched in 1982 and again in 2007. “We mainly feel sad” about the attacks, said the church’s pastor, Charles Kopp. “It hurts us that anyone could even think we deserve such treatment. They don’t know us, but they apparently oppose anyone who doesn’t identity with them. I wish them well; I have no desire for revenge.”
Baptist priests don’t normally walk around in priestly garb, but Kopp said he would be afraid to walk through the Old City if he did.
Jacob Avrahami, the mayor’s advisor on the Christian community, visited the Baptist church on Monday to condemn the attacks. “They feel besieged; you can see it on them,” he said.