Israeli police arrest 5 for allegedly spitting on Christians
Five suspects have been arrested following video footage of ultra-orthodox Jews spitting on Christian pilgrims in Jerusalem’s Old City, police said.
On Tuesday, a video circulated on social media, showing ultra-Orthodox Jews, including children, encountering Christian pilgrims carrying a large wooden cross in an alleyway in the Old City.
Several of the Jews spat in the direction of the pilgrims as a sign of disgust.
The video sparked sharp criticism from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel’s chief rabbis.
“Israel is totally committed to safeguarding the sacred right of worship and pilgrimage to the holy sites of all faiths,’’ Netanyahu said.
Jerusalem Police Chief Doron Turgeman called the act “ugly’’, and said that no hostility would be tolerated against Christians, Muslims or Jews.
He said that a special task force would be set up with the aim of taking a stronger action against the issue.
Christians have recently suffered increased hostility, especially in Jerusalem.
At the beginning of the year, for example, a protestant cemetery was damaged by two Jewish teenagers.
Christians are a minority in Israel, making up less than two per cent of the country’s 10 million citizens.
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