Christians urge crackdown on spitting Jews
By Inigo Gilmore, LONDON DAILY TELEGRAPH
Washington Times, DC
Oct 14 2004
JERUSALEM – Christian leaders in Jerusalem have attacked what they say
is the increasingly common phenomenon of spitting by ultra-Orthodox
Jews on members of their faith.
The statement followed a brawl between an Orthodox Jewish student
and an Armenian archbishop. The two men clashed in Jerusalem’s Old
City after a Yeshiva (religious school) student spat at a cross being
carried by the clergyman during a procession near the Holy Sepulcher,
the revered site of Jesus’ Crucifixion.
Archbishop Nourhan Manougian then slapped the Yeshiva student and in
the ensuing scuffle, his 17th century ceremonial medallion was broken.
Both were questioned by police and the Yeshiva student is facing
charges. He has been banned from approaching the Old City for 75 days.
The Armenians have branded the police action inadequate and say this
sort of thing has been going on for years. In an interview with an
Israeli newspaper Monday, Archbishop Manougian demanded that Israeli
leaders speak out about the abuse.
“When there is an attack against Jews anywhere in the world, the
Israeli government is incensed, so why, when our religion and pride
are hurt, don’t they take harsher measures?” he asked, adding that
officials “are not interested when we are humiliated on a daily basis.”
His strongly worded critique has encouraged other Christian leaders
to speak out, including a senior Greek Orthodox clergyman who has
revealed how he was approached by an elderly man wearing a skullcap
who spat in his face.
The clergyman preferred not to lodge a complaint with the police and
told an acquaintance that he was used to Jews spitting at him.
Daniel Rossing, a former adviser to Israel’s Religious Affairs
Ministry on Christian affairs and the director of a Jerusalem center
for Christian-Jewish dialogue, said there has been an increase in
the number of such incidents, particularly in parts of the Old City,
“as part of a general atmosphere of lack of tolerance in the country.”