Vandals desecrate Beit Shemesh-area church for 3rd time
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Bishop mourns 'an action against the faith of people'

Vandals desecrate Beit Shemesh-area church for 3rd time

Police made no arrests after the Beit Jamal Monastery was targeted in 2013 and 2016 in apparent hate crimes

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

The vandalized sanctuary of the Beit Jamal Monastery seen on September 22, 2017. (Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem)
The vandalized sanctuary of the Beit Jamal Monastery seen on September 22, 2017. (Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem)

Vandals ransacked a monastery west of Jerusalem this week, the Latin Patriarchate in the city said in a Friday statement.

It said the unknown perpetrators smashed a statue of the Virgin Mary, damaged furniture and broke a number of the stained-glass windows inside the sanctuary of the Beit Jamal Monastery.

Photos of the damage show the vandals took special care to shatter the faces of the icons and of those depicted on the windows.

The vandalized sanctuary of the Beit Jamal Monastery seen on September 22, 2017. (Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem)

Police opened an investigation into the apparent hate crime.

The incident this week marks the third time the Catholic church has been vandalized in recent years.

In 2013, suspected Jewish extremists firebombed the building and scrawled the phrases “price tag,” “death to the Gentiles,” and “revenge” on the hallways of the monastery.

Then, in January 2016, dozens of crosses at Beit Jamal’s cemetery were toppled.

No arrests were made in either of the cases.

Bishop Boulos Marcuzzo condemned the latest incident as “not only an act of vandalism but an action against the sacredness of the holy places and the faith of people.”

“The Holy Land is deep [with] faith and culture. We must live together with the diversity of beliefs,” Marcuzzo said according to a church statement. “It is absolutely necessary to accept others, to accept each other in our diversity.”

Vandals desecrated the Christian cemetery at the Beit Jamal Monastery near Beit Shemesh, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem said on January 9, 2016. (Latin Patriarchate’s Media Office)

The monastery, situated next to the Jerusalem-area town of Beit Shemesh, is known for its good relations with Israelis, who visit to buy its hand-crafted ceramics, honey and olive oil.

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