Above: The fire's aftermath (Jerusalem Fire Department)
Jerusalem Christian Seminary Torched In Apparent Racist Hate Crime
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
A Greek Orthodox seminary near the Jaffa Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem burned early this morning in what police reportedly believe is a hate crime.
The fire at the seminary started at approximately 4:00 am in the bathrooms, the Times of Israel reported, and the seminary walls were painted with nationalist and racist graffiti, including the slogans “Jesus is a son of a whore” and “Redemption of Zion.”
Three teams of firefighters reportedly responded and fought the fire, which was quickly extinguished, saving the building.
No one was injured.
Police are investigating the fire and vandalism as a hate crime.
Jerusalem’s secular Mayor Nir Barkat – who just two days ago helped subdue and capture a knife-wielding Palestinian Arab terrorist – condemned the apparent arson.
“There is no room for such deplorable activity in Jerusalem. We must eradicate this behavior and bring those responsible to justice,” Barkat said in a statement.
Over the past several years, a wave of anti-Christian and anti-Muslim hate crimes have been perpetrated in Jerusalem and the surrounding area. Just two months ago, police arrested a 21-year-old Jewish man who allegedly vandalized a cross and sculpture in the Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem. In 2012, the Latrun Monastery near Jerusalem was attacked and the phrase "Jesus is a monkey" was painted on it. Last May in the run-up to the visit of Pope Francis, vandals painted a Catholic church in the city with similar anti-Christian slogans. (Please see related stories here.) And spitting attacks – often perpetrated by haredi yeshiva students – against Christian clergy in and near the Old City are also quite common.
Only yesterday morning, a mosque in the village of Jab’a near Bethlehem was set on fire and racist and nationalistic graffiti calling for “revenge” was spray-painted on its walls. Similar attacks have frequently taken place against mosques throughout the West Bank areas in Jewish control.
A Jewish-Arab school in Jerusalem was set on fire several months ago and racist and nationalistic graffiti painted on its walls. Three haredi men associated with the racist neo-Kahanist Lehava organization were arrested for that attack.
In early July, three Sefardi haredim – at least one a current yeshiva student – were arrested for the gruesome murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abh Khdeir, who was burned alive in a racist “revenge” attack.
Israel’s Internal Security Service commonly known as the Shabak or the Shin Bet has said that many if not most of these attacks are the work of people inspired by Chabad Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, the founder and rosh yeshiva (dean) of the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva in the radical extremist West Bank settlement of Yitzhar. While Ginsburgh holds no official position within the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, he is one of the most popular Chabad rabbis in Israel and especially in the West Bank. Ginsburgh’s teachings are profoundly racist.
Israel did little to stop these racist and nationalist “price tag” hate crime attacks until the US State Department publicly chastised Israel for its failure one year ago.