An American tourist was arrested in Jerusalem Thursday after he allegedly vandalized a statue of Jesus in the Old City, Israeli police say.
The incident occurred at the Church of the Flagellation along the famed Via Dolorosa when an unnamed man, believed to be in his 40s, knocked over a statue of the Scourged Savior, damaging it, the Times of Israel reported. Video shared on social media shows security grappling with the suspect who can be heard saying, “you can’t have idols in Jerusalem, this is the holy city,” CBS News reported.
A man was arrested after vandalising a statue of Jesus Christ at a church in occupied East Jerusalem.
The suspect is a Jewish extremist, according to one of the church guards who claims to have seen him before, whereas the Israeli police claim he is an American tourist pic.twitter.com/1KeV8aQiA5
— TRT World (@trtworld) February 2, 2023
“We take a very serious view of damage to religious institutions and sites. The police will continue to act against acts of violence and vandalism in the holy places of all religions,” Israeli police stated per the Times of Israel. (RELATED: Topless, Shoeless Woman Breaks Into Church And Destroys Jesus Statue)
The Custody of the Holy Land, which represents the Vatican called the incident a “hate crime,” and identified the alleged vandal as a Jewish extremist telling the outlet that it was the fifth such attack against the church in the past few weeks, the outlet stated. Other incidents included other acts of vandalism at a Christian cemetery, a monastery and at the Maronite Center where Christian images were defaced and equipment was broken, according to another report by the Times of Israel.
The suspect is being evaluated for mental health issues, the outlet stated.