Jerusalem (Agenzia Fides) - Two days after the discovery of anti-Christian writtings on the walls of the Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion (see Fides 18/01/2016), the Israeli police have announced that it has stopped two suspects. The two stopped - report official sources of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem – are two Jews aged 15 and 16 who were questioned yesterday morning, and will likely remain in detention, at the moment provisional.
On the same day Pope Francis paid tribute to the Jewish community in Rome. As reported by the official media of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, some of the slogans written on the doors and walls of the Abbey included: «Death to the heathen Christians, the enemies of Israel», «Let his (Jesus’) name and memory be obliterated» and «Christians in hell».
On the evening of Sunday, January 17, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly condemned the act of vandalism, reiterating that "Israel is a country where Christians and other religions enjoy freedom of worship". While Bishop William Shomali, Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, highlighted that the age of the suspects, 15 and 16, shows once again how important a review of youth education is, who instead are often are "brainwashed to becoming intolerant".
In May 2014, and again in February 2015, the abbey was the subject of arson attacks. The acts of vandalism against the Dormition church is part of a series of acts of intimidation committed against Christian monasteries which started in 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 21/01/2016)