Jewish Leaders Denounce Spitting on Christians

Underline Desire for Peaceful Coexistence

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JERUSALEM, JAN. 7, 2010 ( Leaders of the Jewish ultra orthodox community in Jerusalem are condemning spitting and harassment against Christians perpetrated by some of the community’s young people.

A press release from the Embassy of Israel to the Holy See announced Monday that the Beth Din Tzedek, the tribunal of the Orthodox Jewish Community and the highest instance of the ultra Orthodox Jewish community in Jerusalem, issued a letter denouncing these actions.

The letter, translated from Hebrew by the embassy, stated, “Recently, repeated complaints have been made by gentiles regarding recurring harassment and insults directed at them by irresponsible youths in various places in the city, especially in the vicinity of Shivtei Yisrael Street and adjacent to the grave of Shimon the Just.”

This reported harassment and violence includes spitting and curses directed at clergy and nuns, anti-Christian graffiti painted on the walls of churches and holy places, and throwing of stones.

The letter continued, “Besides desecrating the Holy Name, which in itself represents a very grave sin, provoking gentiles, according to our sages — blessed be their holy and righteous memory — is forbidden and is liable to bring tragic consequences upon our own community, may God have mercy.”

The embassy communiqué noted that the letter represents the desire of the ultra Orthodox Jewish community to combat tensions with its Christian neighbors.

Representatives of the Israeli foreign ministry and the Jerusalem municipality met with Rabbi Shlomo Papenheim of the Ultra Orthodox Haredi Community to address these issues and discuss the letter denouncing the attacks.

The letter, which was signed Dec. 30, called on “anyone who has the power to end these shameful incidents through persuasion, to take action as soon as possible to remove these hazards, so that our community may live in peace.”

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