Here is the Statement regarding police measures on Holy Saturday issued by the patriarchs and heads of local churches of Jerusalem, after police assaulted Christian pilgrims, including an 85-year-old Coptic priest. “We understand,” they said,

the necessity and the importance of the presence of security forces to ensure order and stability, and for organizing the celebration of the Holy Fire at the Church of the Resurrection. Yet, it is not acceptable that under pretext of security and order, our clergy and people are indiscriminately and brutally beaten, and prevented from entering their churches, monasteries and convents . . . .

We deplore that every year, the police measures are becoming tougher, and we expect that these accidents will not be repeated and the police should be more sensitive and respectful if they seek to protect and serve.

The Jerusalem Post reports that Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin formally apologized to the leaders of the Coptic Orthodox Church and that the police are investigating the incident “in coordination” with the Church. For more on this, see our earlier post .

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