Suspected Israeli extremist wrote threatening hate speech on the doors of an ancient church in the Old City of Jerusalem overnight Saturday, Wadie Abu Nassar, a senior adviser to the Catholic Church who is considered close to the Vatican, told Ma’an.
Abu Nassar said the doors of the Dormition Abbey church were vandalized with threats scrawled in Hebrew that read: “Kill the Christians, the enemy of Israel” and “The revenge is coming very soon,” as well as “Send Christians to hell.”
Abu Nassar condemned the graffiti, calling it racist, and pointed out that the incident was not the first Israeli attack against Dormition Abbey.
In 2014, a suspected Israeli extremist lit a prayer book on fire in the abbey, in what police at the time said was a suspected arson attack just hours after Pope Francis held mass at a nearby Christian holy spot during a visit to the area.
A year before that, Israeli extremists spray-painted “Jesus is a monkey” in Hebrew outside the church, and “Havat Maon,” the name of an illegal Israeli settler outpost that had been dismantled by the Israeli government just days before the attack, Israeli daily Haaretz reported at the time.
In 2012, suspected extremists spray-painted “Jesus, son of a bitch,” in Hebrew, with the words “price tag,” a term used by Israeli extremists to mark nationalist-motivated hate crimes.
Abu Nassar said in the past that the extremists responsible for the attacks were not prosecuted by the Israeli government in a “serious way.”
Dormition Abbey dates back to the 5th century, and is thought to be the place where the Virgin Mary died. The abbey is owned by the German Benedictine Order and is considered to be one of the three earliest churches built in Jerusalem.
Israeli settlers have carried out at least 221 attacks on Palestinians and their property in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 2015, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.