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After being told to hide cross at Western Wall, German abbot blames new Israeli government for growing religious tensions in Jerusalem

Abbot Nikodemus Schnabel and Germany's Federal Minister of Education and Research Bettina Stark-Watzinger at the Western Wall plaza in Jerusalem, July 19, 2023. (Photo: Screenshot)

A Western Wall official in Jerusalem asked a German head of a monastery, Nikodemus Schnabel, to cover the cross he was wearing during his visit with German Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger.

The German abbot, who is affiliated with the Old City’s Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem, criticized the treatment he received at a site, which is under ultra-Orthodox Jewish management.

“This is very harsh, you’re not respecting my religion. You’re hindering me from my human right,” Schnabel said.

A reporter from the German news outlet Der Spiegel filmed the incident, which happened outside of the official prayer area near the Wall.

“This is not a provocation, I am an abbot. This is my dress. The cross is part of my dress code. I’m a Roman Catholic abbot. You want me to not dress as my faith, that is the reality,” Schnabel stated.

Schnabel further blamed the new Israeli government for the growing religious tensions in Jerusalem.

“It is painful to see how the climate in this wonderful city is changing more and more for the worse under the new government,” the abbot argued. “Jerusalem is big enough for everyone!”

The incident comes on the heels of several cases of Jewish-Christian tensions in Jerusalem.

In May, Orthodox Jewish activists protested against a Christian prayer event adjacent to the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

“There are Christian missionary organizations that are trying to get into the Western Wall and into Israel,” one Jewish protester said. The issue of potential Christian missionary activities is controversial among religious Jews who fear religious activists trying to convert Jews to Christianity.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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