Christian clergy turn other cheek to spitting Israelis

Associated Press Worldstream
October 18, 2004 Monday

Christian clergy turn other cheek to spitting Israelis


A leader of the Armenian church in Jerusalem said Monday the church
would not press charges against an Israeli who spat at clergy during
a Christian procession last week in the Old City of Jerusalem.

In the Oct. 17 incident, a Jewish seminary student spat at Armenian
Archbishop Nourhan Manougian as he carried a cross in a procession
through the Old City’s cobbled streets. A fistfight broke out, and
the archbishop’s medallion of office was damaged. The student was
arrested but released shortly afterward.

Armenian Bishop Aris Shirvanian said the attacker apologized, and the
church decided to adopt “a Christian outlook, with love.”

Tensions are always high in the walled Old City, divided among
Christians, Jews and Muslims. The Old City contains important holy
sites of all three religions, and some are contested among competing
religions and denominations.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews have also been seen cursing Christian backpackers
on the streets of modern Jerusalem, accusing them of trying to
convert young Jews to Christianity.

Israeli media quoted the student as saying he spat at the Armenian
cleric as a protest against “idol worship.”