Israel’s President Shimon Peres roundly condemned a graffiti attack on the Church of the Dormition in Jerusalem’s Old City yesterday.
The doors of the church, which is situated on Mount Zion near the site of the Last Supper, were daubed yesterday morning with slogans offensive to Christianity, accompanied by the words ‘price tag.’ The so-called ‘price tag’ attacks are usually attributed to extreme elements virulently opposed to curbing Jewish settlement in the West Bank. Yesterday’s incident comes less than a month after a monastery in Latrun was vandalised and set on fire. The offensive graffiti at the Church of the Dormition had been removed by mid-morning yesterday.
In response, President Peres made a clear statement at a meeting with one of Israel’s chief rabbis at a reception to mark the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, saying “Price tag actions contradict the morals and values of Judaism and do great harm to the State of Israel.” He added, “It is forbidden to harm the holy sites of [other] religions and faiths.”
Jerusalem Police Chief Maj. Gen. Yossi Pariente yesterday ordered the formation of a special investigative team to locate the perpetrators. The incident comes after Israel’s internal security minister, Yitzhak Aharonovitch announced in September that a special police unit would be established to combat the price tag phenomenon.