“We are deeply concerned by recent acts of violence and vandalism targeting Christian religious institutions in Jerusalem, including the Armenian Patriarchate, and Armenian residents of the Old City,” tweeted the Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Vahan Hunanian.
Hunanian did not say how Israeli authorities should respond to such incidents.
His short statement came two days after a group of ethnic Armenians reportedly clashed with Jewish men and then with Israeli police in the city’s Armenian Quarter.
According to a local Armenian priest, Father Aghan Gogchian, the violence erupted after the “Jewish extremists” tried to climb on the roof of the building of Jerusalem’s Armenian Patriarchate and remove Armenian national and church flags flying there.
In a Facebook post, Gogchian said the Armenian youths chased the attackers before being confronted by Israeli riot police. The police beat up several Armenians and arrested one of them, he wrote, posting security camera footage of the incident.
In Gogchian’s words, earlier on Saturday two other “Jewish extremists” were detained after insulting Armenians, telling them to “leave our country” and spraying one of them with tear gas.
On Thursday, an angry mob reportedly attacked and wreaked havoc on an Armenian restaurant located in the ancient quarter. According to the restaurant owner, Mihran Grigorian, the three dozen attackers shouted “Death to Christians!” and “Death to Arabs!”
A video of the incident posted on Facebook showed them turning tables and chairs and throwing them at restaurant staff.
“This is not the first time that extremists have behaved like this,” News.am quoted Grigorian as saying. “Non-Jewish residents are attacked systematically.”
The Patriarchate said on January 11 that vandals left anti-Armenian and anti-Christian graffiti on the walls of a local Armenian church.
One week before that, more than 30 graves at the Protestant Cemetery on Mount Zion were desecrated. An Anglican archbishop blamed Jewish extremists for the vandalism.
"This is the latest in a string of attacks against Christians and their property in and around the Old City,” the British Consulate in Jerusalem said on January 4. “The perpetrators of religiously motivated attacks should be held accountable."
The Armenian Apostolic Church has for years accused radical Jews of regularly cursing and spitting at its clergymen in the streets of Jerusalem’s Old City. Two Israeli soldiers were briefly detained by police in November 2022 for doing so during a religious procession led by an Armenian archbishop.