Vandals hit J'lem church in suspected 'price tag'

Police say graffiti spray-painted on Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion, including the words "price tag" and "Jesus is a bastard."

Dormition Abbey 370 (photo credit: Melanie Lidman)
Dormition Abbey 370
(photo credit: Melanie Lidman)
Vandals attacked the Franciscan convent on Jerusalem’s Mount Zion early on Tuesday morning, spray-painting it with anti- Christian graffiti in the third “price tag” attack against a Christian site this year.

The vandals painted the words “price tag” and “Jesus is a bastard” on the door of the Franciscan convent, located adjacent to the Dormition Abbey cathedral.The graffiti was immediately erased after its discovery, as thousands of international tourists walk by the site each day.Asst.-Cmdr. Moshe Bareket, the head of the David precinct in Jerusalem, said that police were notified of the incident early Tuesday morning by a priest.“We will do everything we can to get to the bottom of whoever spray-painted these sentences,” Bareket said outside the convent.He added that police are using “technological means” to locate the perpetrators.There are hundreds of cameras located in and around Jerusalem’s Old City, including at least three at Zion Gate that have a view of the door.A tourist souvenir vendor next to the convent whose first name is Kaybeh said he saw the graffiti when he arrived in the morning and that the priests were “very upset.” He added that it was not the first time that extremists had vandalized the church, and every few months authorities have to deal with some kind of graffiti in the area.The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries in the Holy Land blamed the latest anti-Christian attack on the “contempt and intolerance” taught in Israeli schools.“More than anything, the assembly again asks that radical changes be made in the educational system; otherwise the same causes will produce the same effects over and over,” the organization said in a statement.Political leaders were also quick to condemn the price tag attack.“We are a people of belief and good deeds,” said President Shimon Peres. “Price tag activities are in opposition to the Jewish religion and strike a great blow to Israel.”Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat slammed “a culture of hatred and racism that has become mainstream among Israelis.”“School textbooks and official statements advocating that Jerusalem should be exclusively Jewish, with total rejection of the Palestinian Christian and Muslim identity of the city, have paved the way for gangs of terrorists to attack Christian and Muslim holy sites,” he said.National police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said that the special investigation unit created to deal with two other anti- Christian attacks earlier this year has been tasked with looking into the latest one as well.In September, following the evacuation of the Migron outpost, suspected right-wing vandals spray-painted “Jesus is a monkey” in large orange letters on the outside of the Latrun monastery. They also burned the wooden door at the monastery entrance.The Latrun incident prompted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to denounce the attack as “a criminal act” and state that “those responsible must be severely punished.”In February, two cars and a stone fence at the Valley of the Cross monastery in Jerusalem were covered with anti-Christian graffiti, and cars’ tires were slashed. The vandals wrote “Jesus drop dead,” “Death to Christians” and “Kahane was right.”No suspects were arrested in connection with the previous anti-Christian attacks.Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.