Jerusalem (Agenzia Fides) - The cemetery adjacent to the Salesian monastery in Beit Gemal, in the Israeli town of Beit Shemesh, west of Jerusalem, was desecrated and the wooden and concrete crosses placed on many tombs were destroyed. The incident dates back to mid-December, but has only emerged in recent days. Local police have opened an investigation against unknown persons, but nobody has filed complaints against individuals or specific groups for the act of vandalism.
In the night between March 31 and April 1 of 2014, always in the area of Beit Shemesh, unknown vandals had written blasphemous sentences on the walls of two houses belonging to the Latin Catholic monastery of Deir Rafat (see Fides 01/04/2014). The nuns of the monastery, belonging to the Monastic Family of Bethlehem, of the Virgin Mary and Saint Bruno had on that occasion reported to Agenzia Fides that among the writings in Hebrew, some expressed "blasphemous sentences against Jesus and the Virgin Mary". Other writtings called for "revenge" and accused Germany and the United States of "Nazism". Even some cars parked in the area had been vandalized.
Vandalism suffered by the monastery of Deir Rafat was part of the series of acts of intimidation committed against the Christian monasteries as of February 2012. Since then, extremist groups close to the settler movement have led attacks against places of worship - churches and mosques - frequented by the Arab population. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 09/01/2016)