Friday, October 05, 2012

Jesus Is A Monkey

Latrun price tag - AP - 4,9,2012
A catholic monk standing in a doorway of the Latrun Trappist Monastery where vandals spray-painted anti-Christian and pro-settler graffiti, Sept. 4, 2012. Photo by AP

Catholic Church Condemns 'Price-Tag' Attack On Monastery, Urges Israel To Change 'Culture Of Contempt'

The Catholic Church condemned the so-called "price-tag" attack against a Christian monastery on Tuesday, with high-ranking church offices denouncing the "teaching of contempt" against Christians prevalent in Israeli society.

Earlier Tuesday, the door of a Christian monastery in Latrun, the Abbaye de Notre-Dame de Sept-Douleurs, near Jerusalem, was set on fire on morning and anti-Christian slogans were found spray-painted on the monastery's walls.

The arson and graffiti are suspected to be a “price tag” attack, following the recent evacuation of Migron, a settlement outpost in the West Bank.

Monks residing at the monastery noticed the burning door on Tuesday morning, and called police after extinguishing the flames. Graffiti sprayed on the monastery walls included the words “Migron,” and “Jesus is a monkey.”

In a statement released later in the day and signed, among others, by the Latin Patriarch for Jerusalem Fouad Twal and Gerogio Lingua, Apostolic Nuncio for Jordan, and former Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah, the Catholic Church severely condemned the attack, saying it was the results of an Israeli tendency to scapegoat Christians.

"The Christian community awoke this morning… to discover with horror that once again it is the target of forces of hatred within Israeli society," the missive said, adding "what happened in Latrun is only another in a long series of attacks against Christians and their places of worship."

Further on, the statement asked: "What is going on in Israeli society today that permits Christians to be scapegoat and targeted by these acts of violence?," questioning why the unknown assialtants chose to " vent" their anger over the dismantling of West Bank outposts "against Christians and Christian places of worship?"

"What kind of 'teaching of contempt' for Christians is being communicated in their schools and in their homes? And why are the culprits not found and brought to justice?" the statement asked, urging Israeli "authorities to act to put an end to this senseless violence and to ensure a 'teaching of respect' in schools for all those who call this land home."

'Price Tag' Vandals Consistently Escape Prosecution

Hate messages, arson and no indictments: Dozens of "price tag" acts, which have taken place in the past few years, have resulted in just a few indictments in what has been described by Yesha Council chairman as a "complete failure by the Shin Bet."

Among the most notable cases are the mosque arson in Beit Fajr in October 2011, the raid on the Binyamin Spatial Brigade and mosque arsons in the villages of Qusra and Burqa earlier last year.

Similar incidents were also recorded in the past three months in Neve Shalom, Kafr Jaba and Jelazon. No indictments or arrests were made. In fact, only a small number of indictments have been filed in relation to "price tag" incidents in the past few years, in sharp contrast to the growing scope of the phenomenon itself.

While Rightist elements strongly condemned the Latrun arson as well as the "price tag" phenomenon in general, they also pointed fingers at Israel's security forces.

"It's unacceptable that the Shin Bet produces zero indictments and 100% failures," Yesha Council Chairman Danny Dayan charged.

Dayan added that "this corrupt phenomenon has followed us for years."

He further added: "There have been at least seven cases of mosque arsons, countless car arsons, including those of police cars, the throwing of stones, firebombs and hate messages. It's inconceivable that our glorified Shin Bet cannot handle these groups of thugs."

"One can count the indictments on one hand and still have fingers left. It creates a feeling of impunity and also gives way for conspiracy theories."

Dayan admitted that the settler leaders' silence throughout the years served to encourage the vandals. He added that the method of restraining orders is not effective. "It's time that the Shin Bet produces results."

Easy targets
Churches and monasteries have long become a favored target for "price tag" vandals, but the heads of the Catholic Church in Israel fail to see the link between Migron and the Latrun Monastery. "It's an easy target that makes no sense."

Acting Jerusalem Police Chief Manny Yitzhaki: "People are naturally shaken and afraid, because ('price tag') acts are now everywhere," a source at the Interior Ministry's Religious Denominations department told Ynet.

"The heads of the communities speak of an overall uneasy feeling. We're very worried about this because it's getting worse. This has to be dealt with both though education as well as punitively," he said.

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