Christians condemn acquittal of suspected Jerusalem vandals

Christians condemn acquittal of suspected Jerusalem vandals

Christians condemn acquittal of suspected Jerusalem vandals

Anti-Christian slogans in Hebrew, such as this one pictured, were scrawled along the walls of the Benedictine Dormition Abbey monastery walls in the Old City of Jerusalem in Jan. 2016. (Credit: CNS photo/Courtesy Dormition Abbey.)

Christian authorities in Jerusalem are denouncing the acquittal of two Jewish youths suspected of vandalizing a famous monastery.

JERUSALEM — Christian authorities in Jerusalem are denouncing the acquittal of two Jewish youths suspected of vandalizing a famous monastery.

Wadie Abunassar, an adviser to church leaders in the Holy Land, said on Tuesday that an Israeli court’s decision to acquit those suspecting of sprawling anti-Christian graffiti on the Dormition Abbey several years ago is “unacceptable.”

The court had deemed a confession as inadmissible, since it had been obtained through “emotional torture.”

Abunassar says the outcome is that those who carried out the attack weren’t “brought to justice” and Israeli authorities must find and punish them to deter others.

The attack against the Dormition Abbey, where Christians believe the Virgin Mary ended her earthly life, came amid a spate of vandalism on Christian targets that were blamed on extremist Jewish activists.

The vandals wrote “death to Christians,” “death to Arabs,” and “Jesus is a monkey” in Hebrew on the walls of the monastery.

It was widely condemned.

The Benedictine monastery just outside Jerusalem’s Old City is a popular site for pilgrims and tourists.

One of the suspects had previously been convicted of the June 2015 arson of the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes at Taghba, on the Sea of Galilee.

Crux staff contributed to this report.

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