Guest / Limited Access /

Tensions in Jerusalem's Old City have flared following an incident during October in which a Jewish seminary student spat at an archbishop. It happened during a procession from the city's Armenian Quarter to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, a site commemorating Jesus' crucifixion and burial.

Israeli police arrested the seminary student, but Christian clerics living in the walled Old City say such assaults by ultra-Orthodox Jews are frequent.

"It happens maybe once a week," Armenian Bishop Aris Shirvanian told Ecumenical News International. "As soon as they notice a Christian clergyman, they spit. Those who are 'respectful' turn their backs to us or the large cross that we may carry. But the ones that are daring either spit on the ground or on the person without any provocation."

In the latest incident, a scuffle broke out after the Jewish seminary student spat at the cleric, whose cross was ripped from his neck. The seminary student later told police he saw the religious procession as idolatry. Police said an indictment is pending.

Shirvanian said spitting against Christian clergyman had been going on for years. He said the assailants are religious Jews—men, women, teens, and children. "This shows that it is a phenomenon that is prevailing in their religious education and it should be corrected," he said.

Daniel Rossing, director of the Jerusalem Center for Jewish-Christian Relations, said his organization plans to ask rabbis to teach their congregants to stop such attacks.

"All people are created in the image of God and to spit on another person is to spit on the image of God," Rossing said.

Related Elsewhere:

Articles elsewhere on the incident include:

Chief Rabbi Metzger Apologizing for Spitting Incident | Ashkenazi Chief ...
Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only
Deconstructing Gulags
U.S. evangelicals win key legislation for freedom.
RecommendedThe Bible Never Says 'All Men Are Created Equal'
Subscriber Access Only The Bible Never Says 'All Men Are Created Equal'
How the New Testament offers a better, higher calling than the Declaration of Independence.
TrendingWhy Do We Have Christmas Trees?
Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?
The history behind evergreens, ornaments, and holiday gift giving.
Editor's PickA Journey as Old as Humanity Itself
A Journey as Old as Humanity Itself
What’s behind our timeless fascination with religious pilgrimage?
Christianity Today
Spitting on God's Image
hide thisDecember December

In the Magazine

December 2004

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.