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Israeli government ministries and organizations convene forum to discuss anti-Christian harassment in Jerusalem

Government appears to be taking notice of growing phenomenon

Israeli chief of Police Kobi Shabtai oversees the Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City during the Easter holiday on April 15, 2023. Photo by Erik Marmor/Flash90

Several leaders from Israeli government ministries, the Jerusalem municipality and other organizations focused on development in Jerusalem met in a forum convened by the Ministry of Tourism on Monday to discuss anti-Christian harassment in the capital city.

Participants included Israel's Foreign Ministry, Interior Ministry and Justice Ministry, the Israel Police, the Israel Jerusalem Development Authority, the East City Development Company, and the Old City Reconstruction and Development Company.

The forum members specifically discussed how the recent increase in anti-Christian harassment could impact Christian tourism in Israel.

"The State of Israel allows freedom of religion and worship for everyone. I strongly condemn any harm to a tourist or to a Christian religious symbol,” Tourism Minister Haim Katz told the forum attendees.

He also said that such behavior violates Jewish values.

“This is a despicable phenomenon that is contrary to the values ​​of Judaism – the great rule of which is to love your neighbor as yourself.”

Israeli Tourism Ministry Dir.-Gen. Danny Shahar told the forum that tourists are a helpful asset to Israel.

“Every tourist who comes to Israel becomes our ambassador, and therefore we are committed to providing a unique and high-quality experience,” Shahar said.

Israel has seen a growing number of anti-Christian incidents this year.

On Jan. 2, two young Jewish men vandalized over 30 graves in a Protestant Christian cemetery.

Later that month, anti-Christian graffiti, written in Hebrew was placed in several locations of the Old City, calling for “Death to Christians.”

In the lead-up to Easter, several local Christian groups expressed concern about increased harassment during the weeks-long Easter celebrations in the city.

More recently, Israeli authorities prevented thousands of Orthodox Christian pilgrims from celebrating the Feast of Transfiguration at Mt. Tabor. While there is a dispute over how early the authorities notified the organizers of the festival, the event caused a public relations issue for the Jewish state.

More recently, ALL ISRAEL NEWS Editor-in-Chief Joel Rosenberg wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, urging him to become involved in the matter before it becomes “an issue of great concern” for Israel’s Evangelical supporters.


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

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