Attack on Jerusalem graves unnerves Christians
JERUSALEM (AP) - Christian leaders in Israel are up in arms over what they say is a string of relentless attacks on church properties and religious sites - most recently the desecration of a historic Protestant cemetery where vandals toppled stone crosses from graves and bludgeoned them to pieces.
The attack in the Protestant Cemetery of Mount Zion, one of Jerusalem's most important historic graveyards, has struck a particularly sensitive nerve because some of the damaged graves belong to famous figures from the 19th and 20th centuries, a key period in Jerusalem's history. Among them are a German diplomat, the founder of an orphanage who was a significant contributor to modernising the city, and a relative of the owners of a prominent hotel.
Though members of the clergy say interfaith relations between top religious leaders have never been stronger, and police have been more responsive to such attacks in recent years, they say attacks continue unabated. Some activists say not enough is being done to stop them.
"We are striving so hard to promote dignity and respect among the living. And here we have our dead people... vandalised," said Reverend Hosam Naoum, caretaker of the Protestant cemetery. "No human would agree with this."