The growing hostility of Israeli Jewish extremists towards Christian priests and other clergy in the Holy Land has been exposed by an undercover Israeli reporter.
Yossi Eli of Israel’s Channel 13 wanted to investigate the recent spike in hate crimes against Christians around Jerusalem, especially in the Old City next to the Western Wall. So he planned a news segment called Priest For A Day. The reporter dressed in a Franciscan priest’s habit and was accompanied by Father Alberto Pari, secretary of the Custody of the Holy Land, as they wandered around the city with a camera crew covertly filming every incident.
Within five minutes of starting his walk, the journalist was spat on by Jewish Israeli settlers. He heard a man mockingly say in Hebrew: Forgive me Father for I have sinned as the pair walked by. They were then spat on by an 8-year-old child and a soldier as they passed troops guarding the Old City.
Yossi Eli tweeted a video of the incident with the following caption: “The justification of some Jewish groups for hate crimes is that they are ‘mentally ill.’ Our investigation proved that the attacks are really not from the mentally ill, but people with a clear opinion who simply hate something they are not. Brainwash them that Jesus is bad.”
His commentary continued: “Young extremists, children, and most sadly, soldiers, the ‘salt of the earth,’ express their hatred towards Christianity. Just think what the reaction of those Jews would have been if a Christian had spat on them in Europe. The full investigation, the truth? Priest for a Day was very difficult to digest.”
The Jerusalem Post reports that in recent months, Jewish groups have targeted Christian buildings, clergy’s clothing and crosses, as well as priests.
Father Francesco Patton, who serves as the Vatican’s Custodian of the Holy Land, told Channel 13 News that Israeli politicians are at least partly responsible for rising anti-Christian sentiment as “political language became more violent.”
Pointing to the recent desecration of a Lutheran cemetery and the spray-painting of the message “Death to Christians” on Armenian church property, Father Patton said: “Those who have power are helping to create a hostile environment for Christians. I hear so many times people telling me, asking why do you stay here, go back to your country. This place is ours, it’s not yours. Go back to your country,” he said.