Pope Francis was "furious" after learning that Jewish youths in Jerusalem spat at Christian pilgrims, according to a church spokesman.
A video that shows ultra-Orthodox Jews spitting on the ground beside a procession of foreign Christian worshipers carrying a wooden cross in the holy city of Jerusalem has ignited intense outrage and a flurry of condemnation in the Holy Land, Haaretz reported.
Wadie Abu Nasser, spokesman of the Council of Heads of Catholic Churches in Jerusalem, told Army Radio on Wednesday that the pope had been made aware of the incident.
"It's reached the whole world, up to the big boss," Nasser said, Haaretz reported. "The pope is updated on every incident, he's furious."
The Israeli police arrested five suspects who were seen spitting in the direction of Christian tourists in the Old City of Jerusalem, according to a police statement on Wednesday morning, All Israel News reported.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday condemned the rise in incidents of Jews spitting on Christian worshippers in Jerusalem.
"Israel is totally committed to safeguard the sacred right of worship and pilgrimage to the holy sites of all faiths. I strongly condemn any attempt to intimidate worshippers, and I am committed to taking immediate and decisive action against it," Netanyahu said in a statement on social platform X.
"Derogatory conduct towards worshipers is sacrilege and is simply unacceptable. Any form of hostility towards individuals engaged in worship will not be tolerated."
The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ), an evangelical charity organization, released a statement before Wednesday's Jerusalem March, in which 2,000 Christians were expected to participate in a "festive annual event for the entire family during Sukkot."
"We must be the first to admit there is a much longer, painful history of Christian hostility towards the Jewish people," ICEJ said. "But thankfully, there has been a sea change in Christian attitudes concerning the nation and people of Israel in our day.
"The vast majority of Israelis we encounter know this and have warmly welcomed us in Jerusalem for Sukkot once again. We truly appreciate being able to share in the joy of this unique biblical festival with our Jewish friends and will not be deterred from loving and standing with Israel."
The ICEJ statement also thanked Netanyahu, Israel's chief rabbis, and other Jewish figures for condemning "recent acts meant to humiliate or harm Christians."
Charlie McCarthy, a writer/editor at Newsmax, has nearly 40 years of experience covering news, sports, and politics.
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