Two orthodox Jews harass and spit on Catholic priest in Jerusalem

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem issued a statement condemning the «shameful and unprovoked attack.» The police reportedly arrested the two assailants immediately after the incident

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(ZENIT News / Jerusalem, 02.05.2024).- The Benedictine Abbey of the Dormition in Jerusalem was shaken by an incident of religious intolerance on the first weekend of February when Abbot Nikodemus Schnabel became a victim of an attack involving spitting and insults.


In a video circulated on various platforms, Schnabel is seen trying to photograph two radical Jewish youths who physically assault and spit in front of him. The incident occurred while the abbot was accompanied by a German journalist friend.

Jewish media initially reported the incident on Saturday, highlighting how the attackers spat on and threatened the Benedictine abbot. In the video, a passerby with an Israeli flag on the sleeve intervenes, separating the attackers from Schnabel. During the altercation, one of the assailants hurls insults at Schnabel.

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem issued a statement condemning the «shameful and unprovoked attack.» It was reported that the police immediately detained the two assailants after the incident. The patriarchate expressed that prosecuting the perpetrators of these hate crimes is essential to deter and enhance the security of Christian clergy in the Holy Land.



The German Ambassador to Israel, Steffen Seibert, described the incident as scandalous in a social media post. He expressed concern about those who teach contempt for Christians or other religions within Judaism, emphasizing that this must stop. Israel’s Minister of the Interior, Moshe Arbel, called the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, to discuss the episode and expressed regret for the behavior of the young individuals. On the other hand, the Israeli Foreign Minister deplored the incident on his X account.

Abbot Benedict Schnabel, describing the video as part of the reality of his life, assured that he did not seek publicity with it. He emphasized that there are even more difficult situations that people endure in the region and called for prayers for peace and reconciliation.

The incident has heightened concerns about religious intolerance in the region and has sparked calls to promote peaceful coexistence among communities of various beliefs in Jerusalem. Already in July 2023, an Israeli TV channel highlighted the harassment faced by Catholics from Orthodox Jews.



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Elizabeth Owens

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