israel-church-graffitiThe price tag graffiti was found Tuesday morning, spray painted across the front door of The Church of the Dormition on Mount Zion, just outside the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City. “Jesus, son of a bitch, price tag,” in blue. The blasphemous desecration had been removed by mid-morning Tuesday according to Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld.

A special investigative team has been assembled by the by the Jerusalem Police Chief to locate the perpetrators. Less than a month ago a monastery at Latrun was similarly vandalized.  As of now, there have still been no arrest’s in the Latrun case.

The Dormition Chruch was built near the site of the Last Supper and is one of the Franciscan order’s most prized holdings in the Hold Land. According to Israeli president Shimon Peres:

“Price tag actions contradict the morals and values of Judaism and do great harm to the State of Israel. It is forbidden to harm the holy sites of [other] religions and faiths.”

In an interview a few weeks ago, one of the Vatican’s top officials in the Holy Land, the Rev. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, sharply condemned what he termed Israelis’ derogatory attitude toward
Christians:

“When you say ‘Christianity’ to Israelis they immediately think of the Holocaust and the [Spanish] Inquisition,” he said. “People don’t know that we are here and have roots here. If you as a Jew want people to respect you, you need to respect others.”

Israel has only about 155,000 Christian citizens, less than 2 percent of its 7.9 million people.

In a statement The Reform Movement also urged the thousands of people who will be visiting Jerusalem’s Old City during the intermediate days of this week’s Sukkot holiday to, “visit the desecrated site and express their disgust with this act.”

The Reform Movement’s Rabbi Gilad Kariv warned that:

“This price tag epidemic threatens to become a routine part of Israeli public life, causing moral, social and international damage. Law enforcement, which has failed to deal with the phenomenon, must make this a much higher priority than it has until now.”

The Custodia Terrae Sanctae, the Franciscans’ representative in the Holy Land, said that Israel must do more to eliminate the price tag phenomenon:

“The attempts to damage monasteries and the spray-painting of inflammatory graffiti against Christianity, which have occurred repeatedly recently, are an insult to the hundreds of millions of
Christian faithful throughout the world, and the State of Israel cannot allow such grave acts to occur.”

An American Christian named Ed Brown(me) is asking that the world take notice of the level headed and peaceful response by Christians in the region and abroad. While such a sentiment is disturbing, Christ taught of love, forgiveness and tolerance. A lesson many in the world today could stand a big dose of.