Israel has become unwelcoming for Christians

Nuns from the New Polish House in Jerusalem talk about a growing wave of aggression against Christians, with spitting a daily occurrence but also beatings and even arson attacks occurring more frequently

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: Jakub Jałowiczor
via: gosc.pl
A damaged statue of Jesus in the Church of the Flagellation in Jerusalem's Old City, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean, File)

The New Polish House in Jerusalem is increasingly becoming a target of religious Jewish fanatics. Sister Róża Pacocha, an Elizabethan nun and the superior of the New Polish House, spoke to the Catholic weekly Gość Niedzielny about recent incidents of aggression.

“They smashed the peephole with a stone and scratched the doors, and I don’t know if they can be fixed or if everything will have to be replaced,” she said. Since mid-June, the religious house has been regularly attacked, including by assailants throwing trash and stones at it. In July, some people got through the fence, took heavy flower pots from the garden and threw them at the building, eventually destroying the doors.

The New Polish House was built in the 1930s. Over time, the nearby neighborhood of Me’a She’arim grew, and today the house is on its outskirts. The neighborhood is inhabited by Orthodox followers of Judaism, who consider Christian nuns to be unclean.

The New Polish House in Jerusalem (Source: Wikipedia).

Cases of intolerance and aggression against Christians in Jerusalem have been increasing lately. In mid-June, a Jew smashed windows at the Last Supper room in Jerusalem. “Death to the goys” was written on the wall of the Franciscan monastery on Mount Zion in January. In March, two men attacked a priest with a metal rod in the Garden of Gethsemane. In February, an Orthodox Jew from the United States knocked over a 10-foot statue of Christ in the Church of the Flagellation on Via Dolorosa.

Authorities declare that they have no problem with tourists, whom they refer to as pilgrims, but they do have an issue with missionaries. Proselytism is banned in Israel, so there are essentially no missions aimed at Jews or Muslims, but the presence of people in cassocks or habits is too much for radical Jews.

Since religious nationalists joined the Israeli government in 2022, aggressors feel they can act with impunity. Officials are neglecting the reports from Christians. In the case of the Polish House in Jerusalem, the intervention of the embassy was necessary, and yet, the police do not want to install cameras on the street to help catch perpetrators or at least help document the attacks.

Not all Jews are pleased with the behavior of religious nationalists. The Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Jerusalem, Shlomo Amar, has strongly condemned the attacks, calling them “a desecration of God’s name and a serious sin.”

Recently, a website was also launched by non-governmental activists to document cases of aggression. Its creators offer help in reporting attacks as well.

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