JERUSALEM (AP) — Christian leaders in Israel are up in arms over a string of attacks on church properties and religious sites — most recently the desecration of a historic cemetery where vandals toppled stone crosses from graves and broke them to pieces.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says four young Israeli settlers from the West Bank, two of them minors, were arrested last week in connection with the vandalism in the Protestant Cemetery of Mount Zion, but were released without charge until further questioning.
Israeli media have said two of the suspects were students at a nearby Jewish seminary known for its ultranationalist views.
The attack is the latest incident involving Christian sites that have been vandalized within the past year. They include a Trappist monastery outside Jerusalem where vandals burned a door and spray-painted "Jesus is a monkey" on the building, other monasteries and a Baptist church in Jerusalem. Clergymen often speak of being spat at by ultra-Orthodox religious students while walking around Jerusalem's Old City.
164-a-15-(The Very Reverend Hosam Naoum (HOH'-sam nah-OOM), caretaker of the Protestant cemetery, in AP interview)-"kind of saddened"-The Very Reverend Hosam Naoum says some of the damaged graves belong to important figures from key periods in Jerusalem's history. (9 Oct 2013)
<<CUT *164 (10/09/13)££ 00:15 "kind of saddened"
165-a-10-(The Very Reverend Hosam Naoum (HOH'-sam nah-OOM), caretaker of the Protestant cemetery, in AP interview)-"dampens your spirit"-The Very Reverend Hosam Naoum says his church is working to promote respect among the living, and to see the dead vandalized is difficult. (9 Oct 2013)
<<CUT *165 (10/09/13)££ 00:10 "dampens your spirit"
167-a-12-(Micky Rosenfeld, Israeli police spokeman, in AP interview)-"that is unacceptable"-Israeli police spokeman Micky Rosenfeld says authorities must balance their priorities, taking into account that the vandalism is not terrorism. (9 Oct 2013)
<<CUT *167 (10/09/13)££ 00:12 "that is unacceptable"
166-a-18-(Archbishop Fouad Twal (foo-WAHD' TWAHL), Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, in AP interview)-"and in Israel"-Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal says authorities are not doing enough to find the perpetrators, nor to seek root causes. ((note cut length)) (9 Oct 2013)
<<CUT *166 (10/09/13)££ 00:18 "and in Israel"