Israeli settlers torch Latroun Monastery 2012/09/04
Suspected right-wing extremists vandalized the Latrun monastery outside Jerusalem early on Tuesday morning in the first price-tag attack following the evacuation of Migron. The vandals spray painted “Jesus is a monkey” and the words “mutual responsibility” with a list of the illegal outposts of Upper Migron and Maoz Esther in large orange letters on the outside of the monastery.
The vandals also burned the wooden door at the entrance to the monastery. The attack happened at around 3:30 a.m. and was quickly discovered by monks, who notified police.
Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben Ruby said that police immediately formed a special investigative unit to find the perpetrators. Eight policemen are assigned to the special unit, he said. Ben Ruby added that police are currently investigating a number of different areas in order to determine if more price-tag attacks are planned for the next few days.
“We said the evacuation of Migron would raise the anger and burning incitement from a public who feels embittered,” said right-wing activist Baruch Marzel. “I hope that in the future the government and courts will avoid steps that only strengthen the polarization in the country and lead to price-tag [attacks].”
The Tag Meir group condemned the attack in a statement released by the organization's chairman Dr. Gadi Gvaryahu. Tying it to other actions allegedly taken by right-wing nationalists, the group said: "The hand that desecrated the Laturn monastery this morning is the same hand that threw the Molotov cocktail at Palestinian family in Bat Ayin, which is the same hand that carried out a lynching of Arab youths in [Jerusalem's] Zion Square, which is the same hand that desecrated and ignited more than ten mosques and churches in the past two years, and is the same hand that wrote the racist Torat Hamelech book."
Following the evacuation of Migron on Sunday, Judea and Samaria District commander Asst.-Ch. Amos Yaakov said police were preparing for increased “price-tag” incidents. “I assume that there will be an increase in price-tag incidents, and we have carried out preparations for this,” Yaakov said.
Last week, vandals attacked cars in the Palestinian village of Dura al-Kara and spray-painted the word Migron on one of the cars. It was one of a number of price-tag attacks against Palestinians last month.
According to Ben Ruby, this was the first attack against the Latrun monastery. However, it was not the first time price-tag vandals attacked a Christian site. In February, two cars and a stone fence at the Valley of the Cross Monastery in Jerusalem were covered with anti-Christian graffiti, and the cars’ tires were slashed. The vandals wrote “Jesus drop dead,” “Death to Christians” and “Kahane was right.” They called themselves “The Maccabees of Migron” and left the words “price-tag.” The same day, vandals also attacked the Hand in Hand Center for Jewish-Arab Education elementary school in the Patt neighborhood, where they spray painted “Kahane was right” and “death to Arabs” on the wall.
The Latrun Monastery of the Silent Monks was a way station for pilgrims on their way from Jaffa to Jerusalem in the 19th century. The current building was built in 1890. Until 1960, monks living on the premises took a vow of silence and only spoke during prayer. Today the monastery is open to the public during select hours.