Monday, December 17, 2012

Wiesenthal Center Decries Attacks on Christian Sites in Israel

By Michael Ireland
Special Reporter, ASSIST News Service

ISRAEL (ANS) -- Overnight, offensive graffiti were painted at an Armenian cemetery and the Valley of the Cross monastery in Jerusalem, cars were also spray-painted and tires slashed at the monastery, and at Shukba, near Ramallah.

Now, in a media update, the Simon Wiesenthal Center has voiced its outrage over the recent desecration of these Christian religious sites in Israel, as well as vandalism of an Arab village.

"The desecration of religious sites in a democratic Israel pains us as Jews as much as it pains the intended victims," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Wiesenthal Center.

"Our outrage is mitigated only by the unequivocal response from the highest places in Israeli society," he continued.

Cooper referred to "the quick expression of 'disgust' by Prime Minister Netanyahu, and his commitment to apprehend and prosecute those responsible, and to redoubling Israel's educational emphasis on its core values of tolerance and respect for all people."

"The perpetrators added 'Happy Hanukah' slogans in their vandalism but there was nothing happy and nothing Hanukah about these attacks," remarked Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, the Center's director of interfaith affairs.

"At a time that Jews commemorate winning religious freedom from their ancient oppressors, they are mindful of not violating the welcome mat that Israel extends to all other religious groups," he added.

"How tragic that while the vast majority of Jews celebrate their own religious values, misguided people would resort to such ugly and un-Jewish tactics," Adlerstein concluded.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

For more information, please contact the Center's Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036, join the Center on Facebook, , or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.

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