Following the latest spitting attack against German Abbot Nikodemus Schnabel, he told the Jerusalem Post, “The same evening, I was praying for these people.”
Schnabel, the head of Jerusalem's Benedictine Catholic Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion was spat on and harassed by two young ultra-Orthodox Jews while walking in Jerusalem’s Armenian Quarter on Saturday evening. The suspects were arrested the same day and released to house arrest.
“I always am praying for the perpetrators, this is part of my DNA as a Christian,” Schnabel told Post after the incident.
“I hope the police will take this issue more seriously because we, as Christians, are extremely aware of the rising problem of antisemitism, I would be more happy if the Jewish population of Israel would be more aware of the rising problem of Christian hate attacks,” he said.
Everyone should fight antisemitism, and hate against Christians and Muslims together, Schnabel added. He said he wishes “that it not be the hooligans of religion who have the main part in the religious landscape but rather the God-seekers.”
What especially saddened him, Schnabel told Ynet news, is that religious Jews were the ones who attacked him.
“For someone who dresses like a religious Jew and should behave like one - it was a desecration of Shabbat,” he said.
Schnabel has become the victim of repeated anti-Christian incidents. Wearing a black habit and a large cross-chain, he is an easily identifiable target for the main perpetrators of the attacks, who are mostly young religious Jews.
“I know they are not the majority in the State of Israel,” Schnabel said. While the phenomenon isn’t a huge problem, he told the German Press Agency during an interview, he does believe it gets swept under the rug.
At the same time, Schnabel thanked the many friendly Jewish rabbis and Muslims who expressed solidarity with him.
Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, the president of the Conference of European Rabbis, called the attack “a reward for bigotry,” which “provides additional incentive for violent attacks and anti-Semitic incidents against Jews.”
Rabbi Dr. Kenneth Brander, who heads a Jewish Yeshiva school said that such attacks are "not what Judaism represents.”
The German abbot noted that during the recent incident, an elderly man came to his aid and forcefully reprimanded the young attackers.
“I believe it is time for all people who bear responsibility in religious communities to rethink how they carry on the faith, what religious education they impart,” Schnabel told the website Vaticannews.
“And that it’s not about identity, not about division or building up bogeymen, but about the idea of St. Benedict’s Rule: that we are seekers of God and are all miserable sinners in need of God’s mercy, and that every person is created in the image of God.”
“And if this really penetrates the hearts of believers, then religion, this beautiful project of searching for God, can once again unfold its full beauty, even in Jerusalem,” Schnabel concluded.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.