At the Vatican, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen joins the growing list of Israeli officials to publicly condemn recent attacks on Christians in Jerusalem’s Old City and across the country.
“We are committed to protecting their safety and honor, and we will continue to display zero tolerance for acts of violence on the basis of hatred,” he says in his meeting with the Holy See’s Foreign Minister Paul Gallagher.
President Isaac Herzog this week condemned vandalism at Christian sites and spitting incidents against clergy. The Foreign Ministry has also condemned the growing phenomenon, but Cohen has not until now.
The willingness of top officials to discuss the attacks is an indication of a growing recognition that the authorities have to invest additional resources and attention into stopping them.
Cohen did not meet Pope Francis, who keeps a light schedule in the summer months. The Pontiff is also recovering from surgery.
Cohen’s visit is the first by Israel’s foreign minister to the Vatican since 2011.