Vatican asks Israel to safeguard holy sites
JERUSALEM — The Roman Catholic official in charge of the Vatican's properties in the Holy Land on Thursday urged Israel to protect Christian holy sites as a result of a number of vandalism attacks on churches and monasteries before a visit by Pope Francis.
Vandals have recently scribbled anti-Arab and anti-Christian graffiti on several Christian holy sites and properties, including an attack this week on the Vatican's Notre Dame Center in Jerusalem.
Israel's Shin Bet internal security agency says it fears there could be similar attacks as the pope's visit approaches at the end of the month. He is scheduled to visit Jordan, the West Bank and Israel from May 24 to 26.
The “Custody of the Holy Land” issued a statement expressing concern about the attacks and said the uptick in violence appeared to be connected to the visit. It called on Israel to “work urgently against extremist elements” to ensure peace and safeguard Christian holy places.
In recent years, vandals believed to be Jewish extremists have attacked mosques, Christian holy sites, Arab properties and even Israeli military bases and vehicles in Israel and the West Bank to protest what they perceive to be the Israeli government's pro-Palestinian policies. The attacks are known as “price tag.”
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Thursday that police had arrested a 25-year-old Jewish extremist who confessed to involvement in at least 10 vandalism attacks aimed at Arab targets.
Rosenfeld said police have “stepped up” patrols and surveillance across the country, and that thousands of police officers would be deployed during the pope's visit to ensure it goes smoothly.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Iraqi forces complete recapture of Tikrit
- Missile strike destroys dairy factory in Yemen, killing 35
- Struggle continues for Iran nuclear accord
- Antarctica yields life in extremest of conditions, so what about on another planet?
- Martial law replaced in Thailand by security order
- ‘Birth tourism’ business booming in China
- Oil platform erupts in flames off Mexico
- Delivery of biggest warship since WWII another sign of expanding Japanese military
- Saudi-led attacks seen as escalating violence in Yemen
- Russians blame Western sanctions for recession fed by oil price drop
- Airstrikes intensify in Yemen as Egypt, Saudis consider ground forces