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Abbot Asked to Cover Cross at Western Wall as Attacks on Christians Increase

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A recent incident at the Western Wall in Jerusalem has stirred controversy and shed light on the increasing number of anti-Christian attacks in the city. The abbot of the Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem, Nikodemus Schnabel, was asked by a worker at the Western Wall to cover the cross he was wearing around his neck. The incident, captured on video and shared on Twitter by Der Spiegel reporter Christopher Schult, quickly gained attention.

Photo credit: Anton Mislawsky

Photo credit: Anton Mislawsky

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
7/19/2023 (10 months ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Western Wall, Jerusalem, cross, cover, persecution, Christian

Schnabel's response to the worker's request was firm, stating that the requirement to remove the cross was "very harsh." The incident highlights the tension surrounding religious symbols and practices at the revered religious site.

This incident is just one example of a growing trend of anti-Christian attacks in Jerusalem in recent months. Christian clergymen and tourists have reported incidents of spitting and verbal abuse by Jewish residents. Last Thursday, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Pierbattista Pizzaballa, expressed concern over the rise in attacks, noting that Christian sites have been vandalized and assaults on priests have become more frequent since the new government took office.

The patriarch emphasized that the root cause of these attacks lies in education, with some individuals being taught hostile attitudes toward Christians. While some extremist or polarized groups may be responsible for these actions, he also highlighted that there are positive reactions from other religious Zionists and haredi groups. The issue poses a challenge for Israeli authorities, as the attackers often come from fringe groups not directly affiliated with mainstream Judaism.

The incident at the Western Wall has reignited discussions about the balance between religious freedom and respect for the sanctity of religious sites. The Western Wall Heritage Foundation later issued an apology, clarifying that there are no official regulations regarding religious symbols at the Western Wall Plaza.

As Jerusalem grapples with these complex issues, the wider implications of this incident and the escalating anti-Christian attacks continue to raise concerns about the need for tolerance and coexistence in this historically diverse city.

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