It has been a struggle for Israeli Christians, as the new government has made the life of the people in faith there hard. Even though violence persists, the Israeli authorities mostly are giving a blind eye to these situations.
This is due to the ongoing hostility of the fundamentalist Jews toward the Christian community of Jerusalem, and not just the Armenians suffer from these hostilities, but all in Israel.
Rise of Violence Against Christians in Jerusalem Persists in New Israeli Government
In the article shared on Aljazeera, Miran Krikorian, owner of a Wine Bar in the Old City of Jerusalem, was not even surprised when he received a call that reports that a group of Israeli settlers was attacking his bar last January. The attackers shouted, "Death to Arabs, death to Christians!" Even with the lack of efforts of the police, Krikorian already knew the situation they were in.
According to the article, the police captured three people from the mob following a quick inquiry, although it took two months and some media attention before they did so. The police nevertheless requested Krikorian's surveillance footage, even though there are many security cameras in the Old City, and it had previously been posted online.
Krikorian became frustrated and asked why the police required his film when the nearby cameras could take detailed pictures, even down to a person's underpants. It was evident that the police were doing it on purpose.
The Christian community leaders are concerned about the rise in the attacks on Christian sites and individuals and are believed to be motivated by an ideological belief of "Messianic Syndrome." This belief is mainly followed by the same religious group of Jews, which involves their desire to take over the land and is often associated with young yeshiva students.
This "syndrome" is believed to be dismissed as a mental illness, which is the reason why the police minimize their actions to catch and punish these perpetrators. The attack on Christian symbols, particularly the cross, is common and is currently growing in the current Israeli government. Christians put the blame on the government because of the lack of action.
Christians in East Jerusalem are victims of the ongoing violence that the Jewish extremists are doing. According to the Jerusalem Post on Mount Zion, which is thought to be the site of Jesus' Last Supper, one recent event involved the vandalism of a Christian grave. Such events include spitting, cursing, and pushing Armenian priests in Old City alleyways.
Young guys with ultra-Orthodox appearances regularly gather in groups to identify priests and degrade them in the harassment which has occurred for several years. The local Armenians contend that despite police reports, they have not received a sufficient reaction, follow-up, updates, or indications that the harassment is ceasing.
Also Read: Desecration of Jerusalem Christian Cemetery: Two Suspects Arrested, Justin Welby and Israel's Foreign Ministry Speak Out
Recent Celebration of the Holy Week
Recently, Christians in Jerusalem pushed through on celebrating the Holy Week amid the struggle to stay present in the Holy Land. According to a recent story in Christianity Daily, after mass in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Christians believe Jesus was crucified and raised, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Pierbattista Pizzaballa, expressed hope for love and life to rule people's lives.
The emergence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's nationalist-religious cabinet early this year has raised concerns among Christian leaders about rising violence against their minority. Some people worry that the Christian population, which is no longer seen as being crucial to the identity of the city, may be squeezed out by the rise of Jewish neighborhoods around the Old City of Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives.
Related Article: Christians in Jerusalem Celebrate Palm Sunday Amid Struggle to Maintain Presence