Simon Wiesenthal Center Decries Attacks on Christian Religious Sites in Israel

December 12, 2012

The Simon Wiesenthal Center voices its outrage over the recent desecration of Christian religious sites in Israel, as well as vandalism of an Arab village.

Overnight, offensive graffiti were painted at an Armenian cemetery and the Valley of the Cross monastery in Jerusalem. Cars were also spray-painted and tires slashed at the monastery, and at Shukba, near Ramallah.

“The desecration of religious sites in a democratic Israel pains us as Jews as much as it pains the intended victims,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Wiesenthal Center. “Our outrage is mitigated only by the unequivocal response from the highest places in Israeli society,” he continued. He referred to the “Quick expression of ‘disgust’ by Prime Minister Netanyahu, and his commitment to apprehend and prosecute those responsible, and to redoubling Israel’s educational emphasis on its core values of tolerance and respect for all people.”

“The perpetrators added ‘Happy Hanukah’ slogans in their vandalism,” remarked Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, the Center’s director of interfaith affairs, “but there was nothing happy and nothing Hanukah about these attacks. At a time that Jews commemorate winning religious freedom from their ancient oppressors, they are mindful of not violating the welcome mat that Israel extends to all other religious groups. How tragic that while the vast majority of Jews celebrate their own religious values, misguided people would resort to such ugly and un-Jewish tactics.”

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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).