The writer and Israel Prize laureate Amos Oz said on Friday that those responsible for hate crimes against Arabs and Christians are “Hebrew neo-Nazis.” …
Oz added that in his mind, perhaps the only difference between neo-Nazis around the world and perpetrators of hate crimes in Israel is that “our neo-Nazi groups enjoy the support of numerous nationalist or even racist legislators, as well as rabbis who give them what is in my view pseudo-religious justification.”
With his comments, Oz (pictured above) addressed both the ultra-right-wing Israeli settlers who have long attacked Palestinian families in the West Bank and their brethren who are openly hostile against Christians.
Last week, anti-Christian and anti-Muslim graffiti appeared in various spots around Jerusalem. The graffiti read, in part, “Jesus is garbage.” Also, “Death to Arabs and Christians and all those who hate Israel” was painted on a column of the Office of the Assembly of Bishops at the Notre Dame Center in East Jerusalem.
The graffiti incidents came just weeks after
… a spate of attacks against Christians in Galilee, where a place of worship was vandalized and stones thrown at pilgrims. A radical rabbi also sent a threatening letter to a priest in Nazareth.
The Guardian notes that Pope Francis will visit the so-called Holy Land in less than two weeks. Speculation is rife that ultra-Orthodox radicals will raise the level of hostilities against Muslims and Christians to gain worldwide publicity during the papal visit.
P.S.: Before we start feeling overly sorry for the Christian factions in the Holy Land, let’s remember that they are perfectly capable of grotesque, violent infighting.
Nowhere is this more evident — and more amusing — than in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which stands on the location where Jesus is said to have been buried. The church has been divvied up between no fewer than six Christian denominations: the Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Roman Catholic, Coptic, Ethiopian, and Syriac Orthodox churches. The respective adherents frequently get on each other’s nerves, so much so that fisticuffs (and worse) are fairly common.
Here’s a 2008 battle from the Holy Sepulchre that went on for ten minutes despite police with batons trying to restore order. At the 50-second mark, watch as a brawler brings down what appears to be a fairly massive pole, perhaps a stand of some kind, with such force that it could have shattered someone’s skull.
Another round of violence occurred at the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem in late 2011. This video, despite the absence of the Benny Hill soundtrack, is actually more comical, as the weapons of choice are brooms, a fact that holds somewhat less potential for blood and broken bones. The reporter reminds us that “there have been similar scuffles in the past.” Watch the holy men bristle as they sweep through the birthplace of their Savior:
Perhaps Pope Francis can knock some sense into these gentlemen?