On New Year’s Day, several tombstones were damaged in a Protestant Jerusalem cemetery, apparently by two kippah-clad Jewish youths. Sporadic acts of this kind are rare when compared to the sort of systematic persecution experienced by Christians living in Palestinian-controlled areas, and Israeli authorities responded in a timely way. Nevertheless, Faydra Shapiro notes something missing from the Israeli response:
We can be proud of the fact that Israel apprehended the pair and takes these crimes seriously.
We can also be proud of the fact that many prominent voices in Israel were raised in criticism of this despicable event, including President Herzog, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Jerusalem district police commander. Dozens of Jewish Israelis made a solidarity visit to Mount Zion. The crime was also condemned by important international figures, including the U.S. government’s anti-Semitism envoy and the chief rabbi of the United Kingdom, Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.
Missing however, are the voices of the chief rabbis of Israel.
Until we begin to expect more from our Israeli rabbis in the service of Israeli democracy, the protection of minorities, and forging a moral path for the Jewish future, some will feel emboldened to translate that religious ambivalence into active hate crimes. This is not only immoral; it sends a dangerous message to our Jewish youth, to the Diaspora, and to Christians around the world.
More about: Israeli Chief Rabbinate, Jewish-Christian relations, Middle East Christianity