Two men caught on camera vandalizing 30 Christian graves in Jerusalem.  (screen shot)

Two men caught on camera vandalizing 30 Christian graves in Jerusalem. (screen shot)

  • Two people have been arrested for vandalizing more than 30 graves in a Protestant cemetery in Jerusalem.
  • One of the men was caught on camera pushing over a cross-shaped tombstone.
  • The incident has been called an “act of intentional vandalism and defacement”.

Israeli police say they have arrested two people suspected of vandalizing more than 30 graves in a Protestant cemetery in Jerusalem earlier this month.

Security footage circulated on social media showed a man of Orthodox Jewish appearance entering the Protestant Mount Zion Cemetery last Sunday, pushing over a cross-shaped tombstone and smashing it with rocks with the help of a second man.

Police said extensive damage was caused to gravestones, calling it an “act of intentional vandalism and defacement”.

Two people, aged 14 and 18, were arrested and will be brought to court, according to a police statement released on Friday.

It did not identify the suspects, saying only they were residents of central Israel.

Jerusalem’s Anglican Archbishop Hosam Naoum called the desecration a “clear hate crime”.

“This act is not just cowardly but disgusting, and any person with blood through their veins would reject such behavior,” Naoum told a news conference on Wednesday.

The commander of the Jerusalem police district, Superintendent Doron Turgeman, met church leaders and offered to help repair the damage.

The US Office of Palestinian Affairs said on Thursday it was “concerned” that the religious site was targeted again — the second time in a decade.

“Religious site vandalism by anyone is unacceptable,” the office said. “Jerusalem must be a city for all of its people.”

read | Religious dissent in Israel at Ben-Gvir’s Al Aqsa compound visit

The incident took place just days after Israel swore in the most far-right government in the country’s history.

On Tuesday, far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem, in a move Palestinians called a “deliberate provocation,

Jerusalem has sites sacred to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The cemetery is more than 170 years old and houses prominent members of the armed forces and clergy in the holy city.

It is located in the proximity of the burial site of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Aklehwho was killed on 11 May by an Israeli sniper as she reported from the Jenin refugee camp.


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