Mount Zion Cemetery Jerusalem

The Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office has filed a complaint against two Jewish teenagers today, on charges they vandalized thirty graves at the Anglican Mount Zion cemetery in Jerusalem.

The 16 Jan 2023 indictment charged Daniel Piro (18) of the West Bank settlement of Hashmonaim, and a male juvenile (15) of Even Yehuda with breaking into Jerusalem’s Protestant cemetery on 1 Jan 2023 and breaking crosses, toppling headstones, and destroying memorial stones. The pair have been charged with trespass, vandalism, and insulting religion. The defendants have been on house arrest since police identified them last week from survellience camera footage and took them into custody.

The cemetery was established in 1848 and is part of Christ Church Jaffa Gate Jerusalem. Among the graves vandalized was that of the second Anglican bishop in Jerusalem, the Rt. Rev. Samuel Gobat, and three of British police officers buried during the British Mandate 

Israel’s Foreign Ministry condemned “the act of vandalism at the [Protestant] church” in a tweet last Tuesday. “This act is neither religious nor ethical, and its perpetrators must be brought to justice. The State of Israel has guaranteed since its founding freedom of worship and religion for members of every faith, and will continue to be such a home.”

The archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, and the Anglican archbishop in Jerusalem, Most Rev Hosam Naoum also denounced the vandalism, warning it would inflame sectarian tensions.

Christian cemeteries, churches, schools and other buildings have been “tagged” with graffiti in recent years by Jewish and Muslim extremists, raising concerns by church leaders that their communities are not safe in Jerusalem.

The case continues.