American arrested for vandalizing church

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police on Thursday arrested an American vacationer after he allegedly knocked down and broke a statue of Jesus in a church in Jerusalem’s Previous Metropolis.

Photos on social media confirmed the statue laying horizontally on the ground after apparently being pulled down from a stand on the church. The incident occurred within the Church of the Flagellation, which is situated on the By way of Dolorosa, the route believed to have been walked by Jesus to his crucifixion.

Police mentioned they made the arrest with the help of a church safety guard. Video on social media confirmed a person sitting atop the alleged vandal who’s heard saying “you possibly can’t have idols in Jerusalem, that is the holy metropolis.”

Police mentioned the person’s psychological well being was being assessed. The American Embassy declined to remark.

The incident got here as tensions run excessive in Jerusalem and the area following a bloody week. An Israeli navy raid within the West Financial institution killed 10 Palestinians, principally militants but in addition a 61-year-old lady. A Palestinian taking pictures assault exterior a synagogue in east Jerusalem killed seven individuals, together with a 14-year-old.

The unrest comes within the first weeks of Israel’s new, far-right authorities, a few of whose ultranationalist, non secular members have used inflammatory, anti-Arab rhetoric.

In an announcement, the Custodia Terrae Sanctae, the Catholic Church’s custodians of holy websites within the Holy Land, mentioned “this hate crime joins an inventory of assaults all of which focused the Christian group in Israel prior to now month.”

“It isn’t a coincidence that the violent dialogue in Israeli society is translated additionally into these grave acts,” it mentioned, calling on Israeli regulation enforcement to take motion to halt such incidents.

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Father Nikodemus Schnabel of the Dormition Abbey simply exterior the Previous Metropolis linked the incident to the federal government’s character.

“Welcome to the brand new Christian-hating Israel, inspired and supported by the present authorities!” he tweeted.

Police mentioned they view harm to non secular establishments as critical.