Anglican Church condemns desecration of Protestant cemetery in Jerusalem

The vandals smashed crosses and broke tombstones. 

By World Israel News Staff

The United Kingdom and the Anglican Church have condemned an act of vandalism by two Jewish teenagers on a historic Protestant cemetery on Mount Zion, next to Jerusalem’s Old City.

The vandals, who appeared on surveillance cameras to be religious Jews, smashed crosses and broke tombstones in the cemetery, which has been targeted in the past.

According to Anglican Archbishop Hosam Naoum, who visited the desecrated cemetery, “hatred speech and hatred crimes are on the rise” in the Israeli capital.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who is senior clergyman of the Church of England, slammed the desecration as “a blasphemous act”.

“As we continue to pray for peace in the Holy Land, I stand with Archbishop Hosam Naoum and other Jerusalem church leaders in calling for respect, protection, equality and justice for its Christian community – who are the Living Stones of the Church,” he added.

The British consulate in Jerusalem came out against the vandalism, tweeting: “This is the latest in a string of attacks against Christians and their property in and around the Old City. The perpetrators of religiously motivated attacks should be held accountable.”

Israel’s Foreign Affairs ministry called it an “immoral act” that was “an affront to religion”.

Read  Penn Jewish center vandalized ahead of University conference featuring antisemites

The ministry also called for the perpetrators to be prosecuted.

The cemetery was opened in 1848 by Samuel Gobat, then-Bishop of Jerusalem. It has Commonwealth war graves and the bodies of high profile people, including Oskar Schindler, who saved 1200 Jews in the Holocaust, are buried there.

The Protestant Mount Zion Cemetery was also desecrated in 2013. Efforts by local Jewish, Muslim, and Christian communities led to the restoration of the site.

Israel’s President Isaac Herzog, and Chief Rabbi of the UK, Sir Ephraim Mirvis, expressed solidarity with the Anglican Church.

The Church called for ways to combat “violent acts of defilement against sacred sites” in Jerusalem, which is holy to the three Abrahamic religions.