Catholics Warn of 'Poison' Atmosphere of Hate as Visit of Pope Francis Nears

Anti-Christian Extremists Spread 'Price Tag' Vandalism

getty images

By JTA

Published May 12, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Two weeks ahead of Pope Francis’s trip to the Holy Land, the Roman Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem said vandal attacks by suspected Jewish extremists “poison the atmosphere” of the papal visit.

Patriarch Fouad Twal, the Church’s senior cleric in the Holy Land, described the so-called “price tag” attacks as acts of “terror” and called on Israel to crack down on the perpetrators.

Twal made his call at a news conference on Sunday in Haifa, ahead of the annual Our Lady of Mount Carmel procession.

Israel has seen a spate of incidents where mainly Christian and Muslim sites have been spray painted with threats and racist insults. These have been dubbed “price tag” attacks, referring to threats by ultra-nationalist Jews that the government would “pay the price” for curbing Jewish settlement in Palestinian areas.

“This wave of extremist actions of terror is surely of grave concern to all reasonable persons,” Twal said. “The government of Israel must be concerned, because it is very bad for the State of Israel’s image abroad.”

“It is also a blight on the democracy that Israel ascribes to itself,” he added, “At this point, the unrestrained acts of vandalism poison the atmosphere, the atmosphere of coexistence and the atmosphere of collaboration, especially in these two weeks prior to the visit of Pope Francis.”

The pope is scheduled to visit Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority May 24- May 26.

Twal acknowledged that the Israeli government is attempting to deal with the issue but said so far it is not doing enough.

“The actions are only drawing condemnation by Israeli leaders but few arrests,” he said. But he said he was “encouraged” that Justice Minister Tzipi Livni held an emergency meeting last week with senior security officials “to combat this senseless vandalism.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.