Police Arrest Five for Hateful Gestures Towards Christians: Following a controversy a day earlier with Orthodox Jews spitting a Christian pilgrim, Israeli police on Wednesday arrested five people on suspicion of spitting towards Christians or churches in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Authorities disclosed that four among the suspects were arrested for incidents on Wednesday, and one for an incident earlier in the week. Four are adults and one is a minor.
Israel Police said according to CNN that one of the individuals was arrested on assault charges, and the other four were arrested on suspicion of unlawful disorderly conduct. The one charged with assault spat on a person, while the others spat towards people.
Father Matteo, a priest in the Old City confirmed to CNN on Wednesday that sometimes 10 incidents of spitting occurs a day near his monastery along the Via Dolorosa, the path that Christians believe Jesus walked to his crucifixion, with people calling it “an impure place.”
The priest said such incidents were not a problem for him, but for the spitters, “Because when people grow up with hatred and despising all the others… it’s really very sad for them.”
Jerusalem District Commander Doron Turgeman said “Unfortunately, we witness the continued disgraceful acts of hatred towards Christians in the Old City of Jerusalem, primarily through spitting by extremists.”
He noted however that he would not tolerate “expressions of hatred towards anyone, Jews, Muslims, or Christians in the Old City and anywhere else in Jerusalem.” He added that “Those who engage in such actions have a serious problem, primarily in their education, world view, and respect for others.”
On Wednesday, Israel Police announced the establishment of a special investigation team, the expansion of overt and covert operations, and consideration of imposing fines.