December 4, 2009 – New York – In a letter to Israel’s minister for public security, AJC expressed dismay over the incidents of some religious Jews spitting on Christian clergy in the Old City of Jerusalem. The full text of the letter follows:
Dear Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch:
I write on behalf of the American Jewish Committee to express our dismay over reports of disgraceful assaults on Christian clergy and lay people in Jerusalem. It appears, for instance, that some Jews have made a practice of spitting at Christian clergy in the streets of Jerusalem. A recent incident involving Armenian clerical seminarians is simply the latest in a distressing pattern.
We at AJC have long been committed to the values of pluralism and mutual respect, and are friends of and advocates for the State of Israel. Needless to say, these actions by a few demonstrate profound disrespect toward other religions and stand in contrast to Israel’s fundamental commitment to protect the rights of all its citizens. We also fear that they may damage Israel’s international image and jeopardize its important relationships with faith communities around the world.
We respectfully encourage you take immediate measures to halt this deplorable behavior. We hope that vigorous enforcement of the law will succeed in preventing these shameful acts and disciplining those responsible for them.
David A. Harris