Archbishop says desecration of Jerusalem cemetery a ‘hate crime’

Anglican Archbishop Hosam Naoum says Israel is facing ‘religious radicalism’ as Christian graves are vandalised

Hosam Naoum, archbishop and caretaker of the Protestant cemetery, inspects vandalised graves on Mount Zion outside Jerusalem’s Old City, 4 January 2023

Aljazeera reports:

Jerusalem’s Anglican Archbishop Hosam Naoum has called the desecration of a Protestant cemetery in Jerusalem a “clear hate crime,” days after Israel swore in the most far-right government in the country’s history.

“This act is not just cowardly but disgusting, and any person with blood through their veins would reject such behaviour,” Naoum told a press conference on Wednesday.  “This really shows a clear hate crime towards Christians in Jerusalem which we absolutely reject and condemn,” he added.

Two unidentified men broke into Jerusalem’s Protestant Mount Zion Cemetery and desecrated more than 30 graves on Sunday, local media reported.

Security footage circulated on social media shows one man of Orthodox Jewish appearance entering the graveyard, pushing over a cross-shaped tombstone and smashing it with rocks with the help of a second man.

The graveyard, founded in 1848 and maintained by local communities, contains the graves of 73 men of the Palestine police service who were killed during the second world war.  It is also the burial place of many senior Christian leaders including Samuel Gobat, the former bishop of Jerusalem.

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