Jerusalem: monk forgives vandals after seventh attack on monastery

Dan Bergin -14/12/12

Jewish extremists sprayed anti-Christian graffiti on the Greek Orthodox Monastery of the Cross in Jerusalem and on the gates of an Armenian cemetery, police said on Wednesday. They also slashed the tyres of three cars belonging to staff, and wrote the words ‘price tag’ (a term usually referring to a hate crime against Palestinians) and ‘Happy Hanukkah’.

The attacks drew a strong condemnation from Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who expressed “disgust” over the incidents. “The Jewish values by which we were raised, and by which we raise our children, firmly reject such actions,” he said in a statement. “Freedom of worship for all religions in Israel will be preserved and we will take legal action against the immoral people who committed these crimes.”

The Abbot of the 11th century monastery, Fr Claudius, said he had noticed the graffiti at 4.30am when he got up to pray.

“This is the seventh time this has happened,” he told reporters. “And we forgive them seven times. If they do it again 77 times we will forgive them 77 times. If they had simply knocked on our door we would have invited them in for coffee to talk about our faith. We would have given them Hanukkah greetings. ”