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Catholic Patriarch slams Israeli hate crimes ahead of Pope visit

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The head of the Roman Catholic Church in Israel has condemned Israeli hate crimes against local Christians and Muslims.

Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal told a news conference in the city of Haifa on Sunday that the acts of vandalism “poison the atmosphere” ahead of a visit by Pope Francis to Jerusalem.

The Pope’s visit is set to begin in Jordan on May 24 and he is due to spend two days in Israel from May 25.

On Friday, Israeli vandals spray-painted anti-Christian graffiti on a church in Jerusalem. The act of vandalism came just days after the Roman Catholic Church called for Israel to take action following the discovery of racist slogans daubed on a Vatican-owned property elsewhere in the area.

The Israeli regime has come under fire for its failure to control the spiraling wave of “price tag” hate crimes by Israelis targeting Christian and Muslim properties as well as their holy sites.

“How can it be that they don’t catch the perpetrators?” Twal asked, saying the price tag attacks were “only drawing condemnation” from Israeli authorities but resulted in few arrests.

The United Nations says there have been 2,100 such attacks since 2006, when the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) started the counting, with the annual overalls up from 115 in 2006 to 399 last year.

In early May, Carmi Gillon, the former chief of Shin Bet which is the Israeli security agency, said Tel Aviv does not stop the “price tag” attacks, because it lacks the desire to do so.


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