Over 50 Christian and Muslim sites have been vandalized in Israel and the West Bank since 2009, but only nine indictments have been filed and only seven convictions handed down, according to Public Security Ministry data.

beit jemail vandalism

The ministry data only goes through July 2017, but the vandalism hasn’t ended. The latest attack occurred last Wednesday, September 20, 2017, at Saint Stephen’s Church in the Beit Jamal Salesian monastery, near Beit Shemesh. This was the third such attack on the monastery in the last five years. In 2013, a firebomb was thrown at a door and hateful slogans were scrawled on the walls. And about 18 months ago, gravestones were vandalized in the cemetery. No suspects were arrested in those cases, either.

The wave of vandalism peaked in 2013, the data show. That year, eleven investigations were opened and five people were convicted. Nine Christian and Muslim sites were vandalized in 2014 and the same number in 2015. In 2016, only three such attacks were recorded, but there were four in the first half of this year. From 2009 through 2012, there were 17 such incidents – but there has not been a single indictment.

The Tag Meir organization, which monitors hate crimes, keeps its own records. It says there were 44 attacks on Christian and Muslim sites between the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2016. Tag Meir said many arson attacks on mosques have never been solved. These include mosque attacks in the West Bank villages of Kafr Yasif, Luban al-Sharqiya, Beit Fajjar, Hawara and Qusra, as well as one in the Israeli Bedouin town of Tuba-Zangaria and some in Jerusalem. Tag Meir said it knows of only two cases that were solved: an arson attack on a Christian seminary near the Abbey of the Dormition, Jerusalem; and an arson attack on the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes in Tabgha, on the Lake Kinneret shoreline.