The Abbey of the Dormition compound located near Zion Gate outside the Old City of Jerusalem, was vandalized early Sunday morning, January 17, by far-right Jewish extremists for the second time in nearly a year. The Benedictine monastery, on Mount Zion, is near a site where many Christians believe Jesus held the Last Supper. The words “Christians to Hell,” “Death to the heathen Christians the enemies of Israel,” and “May his name be obliterated,” accompanied by a Star of David, were crudely scrawled in red ink on a wall in the compound.
Head of the Joint List, MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash), called the vandalism a hate crime. “Harassment and harming of places that are holy to Islam and Christianity have nearly become an everyday occurrence, but no one is held accountable,” Odeh said. “In Jerusalem members of the clergy have been harassed for years, but lately this phenomenon has become worse, more common and more violent.” Moreover, Odeh blamed the government for “leading the hatred and approving, with a wink, the continuation of the hate crimes against the Arab minority in the state.” In a statement, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem described the Dormition Abbey as “a significant place for interreligious dialog between Judaism and Christianity” and expressed “hope that the perpetrators will be arrested before they put proposed threats into action.”
Last February, a bathroom and corridor in the Dormition Abbey compound were set on fire and its walls sprayed with anti-Christian hate graffiti by vandals who entered through a window during the early morning hours. Although the fire did not cause serious damage, the crime rattled the church and drew swift condemnation from local politicians and religious leaders. In 2014, hours after Pope Francis concluded his visit to the capital, a vandal set fire to a guest book at the entrance to the compound. And in May of 2013, the church was vandalized with anti-Christian graffiti and cars parked near the building were slashed.