American tourist arrested for vandalizing Jesus statue at Old City church in Jerusalem

AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean (Fair Use)

Israeli police arrested an American tourist who allegedly vandalized a statue in a Jerusalem church in the Old City

“We take very seriously damage to religious institutions and sites,” an Israeli police spokesperson said in a statement. “The police will continue to act against acts of violence and vandalism in the holy places of all religions.”

Police arrested the tourist after hearing that he had broken a statue of Jesus Christ at the Franciscan Church of the Condemnation, which contains the Church of the Flagellation in the Old City of Jerusalem. The officers cooperated with church security to locate and arrest the tourist, a man in his 40s. 

The church is believed to be on the site where Jesus was flogged by Roman soldiers and received His cross to carry to His crucifixion. 

Police have opened an investigation into the circumstances of the vandalism as well as the suspect’s mental state. 

“The police will continue to act with determination against violence and vandalism in the holy sites of all religions,” a police unit spokesperson in Jerusalem said of the case. “We will also continue to work in maintaining security and order.”