update deskIsrael News

Rabbis take stand against abuse of Christians in Jerusalem’s Old City

Signs and pamphlets cite rulings from leading rabbinical authorities who have condemned such actions.

Thousands of Christians march through central Jerusalem to mark the Feast of Tabernacles on Oct. 4, 2023. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.
Thousands of Christians march through central Jerusalem to mark the Feast of Tabernacles on Oct. 4, 2023. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.

For the first time, a public campaign has emerged within Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox communities against the harassment of Christian clergy and pilgrims. 

Ahrale Friedman, a resident of Jerusalem’s Ramat Shlomo neighborhood, hung signs throughout the Old City on the eve of the Passover holiday calling on the public to avoid friction with, spitting on or engaging in other offensive behavior toward Christians.

The signs and pamphlets cite rulings from leading rabbinical authorities who have condemned such actions as forbidden and a desecration of God’s name.

“We must uphold the honor of our Torah as sons of Abraham, who welcomed idol worshippers into his tent,” one pamphlet states.

This rare public outcry comes after a video circulated last October showing a group of Haredi youths spitting on Christian pilgrims as they passed through the Old City’s Lions’ Gate. The incident drew across-the-board condemnation from Israel’s political ranks.

The pamphlets quote Rabbi Meir Tzvi Bergman, an influential member of the rabbinical advisory panel steering the government coalition party United Torah Judaism, saying, “We must protest with all our might” against spitting incidents, which he labeled a “desecration of God’s name.” Former Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar also denounced spitting at non-Jews as “completely forbidden.”

“Spitting and insulting others will not help us and may even harm global support for the [Gaza] war,” the pamphlet warns. It expressed regret that “wicked people” have seized on such videos to attack Jews abroad and spread antisemitism.

Originally published by Israel Hayom.

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