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Israeli Journalist Dresses as a Franciscan and Makes Visible Jews’ Discrimination Against Catholics

Elizabeth Owens

As a result of the growing atmosphere of Christianophobia and racism in Jerusalem’s streets by Jewish groups, an Israeli journalist of the local TV Channel 13 made a report whose result left him surprised.

Dressed as a Franciscan friar and in the company of a true friar, Yossi Eli verified that Jews’ attacks against Christians is a fact. The journalist went on the walk, which Franciscan friars usually do to the Holy Sepulcher in the old city of Jerusalem, with a hidden camera. The camera captured the insults and spit that the Jews directed against him and the other friar, including by military men and children. 

“Friar for one day” English version: The justification of some Jewish groups for hate crimes is that they are "mentally ill". so no. 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… pic.twitter.com/rAmReyLnCv

— Yossi Eli יוסי אלי (@Yossi_eli) July 12, 2023

These aggressive and violent episodes by Jews against Christians have multiplied in recent months: acts of vandalism in Christian cemeteries, verbal violence against leaders, Christian processions, obscene words painted on walls of Christian institutions, etc. Some say that this anti-Christianism has increased as a result of the present composition of the nationalist government, racist in character. 

The most recent episode of this growing wave of anti-Christianism in the city of Jerusalem, which isn’t Israel’s capital, was the official visit of a German Minister to the Wall of Lamentations. Accompanied by the German Abbot of the Abbey of the Dormition of Mary, an official of the Western Hall Heritage Foundation  asked Abbot Nikodemus Schnabel to take off his pectoral cross. The moment was captured in a video by Christoph Schult, a journalist of the German weekly “Der Spiegel.” After the request to conceal the cross, the Abbot said: “This is very grave, you’re not respecting my religion. You are hindering my human rights. I’m mot provoking; I’m an Abbot, this is my way of dressing and the cross is part of it.”

Forschungsministerin @starkwatzinger erlebt am Mittwochmorgen in Jerusalem mit, wie Abt @PaterNikodemus auf dem Platz vor der Klagemauer (außerhalb der Gebetszone) aufgefordert wird, sein Kreuz abzunehmen. Die Offizielle sagt, es handele sich um eine neue Regelung. @derspiegel pic.twitter.com/Zy1GxBVCRP

— Christoph Schult (@schultchristoph) July 19, 2023

In a note, the Western Hall Heritage Foundation defended the employee’s action, stressing that she approached the Abbot politely and that, after his answer, she didn’t impede the Abbot’s passage. Abbot Schnabel then wrote on his social networks: “It’s painful to see how the atmosphere in his wonderful city is changing always for the worse under the new Israeli government.” And he added: “Jerusalem is big enough for everyone.”

The episode led Israel’s Ambassador to the Holy See to say the following: “We must prevent these unspeakable acts from being repeated. The freedom of religion and worship is guaranteed in Israel and must continue being so.” President Isaac Herzog also condemned the different anti-Christian episodes and said they were shameful. “I energetically condemn the violence in all its forms, led by a small and extreme group of people against the holy sites of the Christian faith and against the Christian clergy in Israel,” he said during a ceremony to commemorate the Founder of Zionism.