Katz, Abbot Colins, and Schneider (L-R)
B’nai B’rith World Center Chairman Dr. Haim V. Katz and Director Alan Schneider visited Dormition Abbey adjacent to Jerusalem’s Old City, to express their outrage at last week’s graffiti attack against the Benedictine monastery and church and express solidarity with Abbot Gregory Colins.
The ugly Hebrew-language graffiti is alleged to have been painted as part of a “price tag” action in reaction to the murder of Evyatar Borovsky by a Palestinian terrorist two weeks ago, although no arrests have been made yet. The Abbot also noted the recurring challenge faced by him and other identifiable Christian clergy who continue to be the target of personal assault, mainly spitting by ultra-orthodox Jews encountered randomly on the streets of the Old City. Katz told the Abbot that B’nai B’rith’s decades long commitment to interfaith dialogue would not allow the World Center to sit idly by when a house of worship is vandalized in united Jerusalem, whatever identity of the assailants.
Katz and Schneider also pledged to raise again the matter of personal assaults against Christian clergy with ultra-orthodox community leaders as they have in the past, insisting that they denounce such repulsive and harmful behavior.
Colins – a Belfast native who has served as Abbot of Dormition Abbey for the past two years – assured the World Center delegation that he and the other monks at the monastery recognize that the attacks are perpetrated by a fraction of the population and do not reflect the general peaceful atmosphere in Israel, so that is so different than the cataclysm engulfing the entire region.
Schneider recalled that the World Center had held an important event at Dormition Abbey some twenty years ago that became an impromptu memorial for dozens of Israelis who were murdered and injured the previous day in one of the first Palestinian suicide bombings of the Second Intifada. The three also discussed Jewish-Catholic relations and the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and agreed to seek out opportunities to cooperate in the future.
B'nai B'rith World Center
The B'nai B'rith World Center in Jerusalem is the hub of B'nai B'rith International activities in Israel. The Center serves as the key link between Israel and B'nai B'rith members and supporters around the world.