The top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land said on Sunday a spate of attacks against the Church had poisoned the atmosphere ahead of this month’s visit by Pope Francis, and urged Israel to crack down on the perpetrators.
Fourteen attacks by suspected far-right Israelis have been reported in the past year. Several have been carried out over the last month, including a death threat daubed in Hebrew at the Assembly of Bishops at the Notre Dame Center in East Jerusalem.
The attacks have become known as “price tags” – a reference by ultranationalist Jews to making the Israeli government “pay” for any curbs on Jewish settlement on Palestinian land.
“There has been a marked increase of ‘price tag’ provocations within Israel,” Fouad Twal, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, told reporters at a post-Easter procession in the city of Haifa, home to thousands of Israeli Arab church faithful.