In the midst of this tension, Archbishop Naoum emphasized the importance of coexistence and mutual respect among the three Abrahamic religions
Jerusalem has been experiencing rising tensions and instances of religious discrimination in the wake of the inauguration of Israel’s most far-right government to date.
The latest incident to spark outrage is the desecration of the city’s Mount Zion Cemetery, a Protestant graveyard founded in 1848 that is the final resting place of many Christian leaders, including former bishop of Jerusalem Samuel Gobat, as well as 73 Palestine police officers who were killed during World War II. According to local media reports, two men broke into the cemetery on Sunday and vandalized more than 30 graves, with one of the men appearing to be Orthodox Jewish.
Anglican Archbishop Hosam Naoum condemned the attack as a “clear hate crime” and called on the Israeli authorities to take responsibility for preventing similar incidents from occurring in the future.
“This act is not just cowardly but disgusting, and any person with blood through their veins would reject such behavior,” Naoum said at a press conference on Wednesday.
“This really shows a clear hate crime towards Christians in Jerusalem which we absolutely reject and condemn.”
The desecration of the cemetery is just the latest in a series of provocative actions by far-right Israeli officials. On Tuesday, national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who is widely regarded as a provocateur and has previously called for the displacement of Palestinians, entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem, a move that was viewed as a “deliberate provocation” by Palestinians.
CCTV footage shows Jewish Israeli settlers desecrating graves in the Protestant Cemetery in occupied Jerusalem. pic.twitter.com/N9yQflyzO3
— Mohammed El-Kurd (@m7mdkurd) January 3, 2023
The situation in Jerusalem has been further exacerbated by the recent inauguration of Israel’s most far-right, religiously conservative government in history, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Tensions have been high in the city as a result, with many expressing concern over the potential for further conflicts and acts of discrimination.
In the midst of this tension, Archbishop Naoum emphasized the importance of coexistence and mutual respect among the three Abrahamic religions. “The point is that people living together from the three Abrahamic religions need to learn how to coexist and respect each others’ freedom of worship and holy sites, that’s very important,” he said. “This is all we ask. We aren’t asking for something impossible.”