- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A string of attacks in Israel against sacred Christian sites have set followers of the faith on edge, wondering if the property desecration will progress into assaults against people.

The latest attack: Vandals toppled stone crosses off graves, and smashed them to pieces, The Associated Press reported. That incident took place in the Protestant Cemetery of Mount Zion, one of the most historically important graveyards. Some of the headstones marked the bodies of famous 19th and 20th centuries’ figures — a German diplomat, a founder of an orphanage, a family member of famous hotel owners.

Christian clergy say relations with top religious heads have been smooth, and that police have been fast to respond to incidents. But some in the faith say more could be done to stop the attacks.

“We are striving so hard to promote dignity and respect among the living,” said one caretaker of the Protestant cemetery. “And here we have our dead people … vandalized. No human would agree with this.”

Police have arrested four in the cemetery attack, which took place last week, said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, in the AP report. But he also said they were released, pending further investigations.

Other Christian sites that were hit by vandals in the last year include a Baptist church in Jerusalem and the Trappist monastery in Latrun, just outside Jerusalem. There, a vandal burned a door and spray painted “Jesus is a monkey” on the building.

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• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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