Monastery Near Jerusalem Defaced in Suspected 'Price Tag' Attack

The Beit Jamal Monastery is known for its good relations with Israelis who visit to buy its ceramics.

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Police are investigating a fire bomb attack Monday night on the Beit Jamal Monastery near Jerusalem in the latest "price tag” incident, Israeli shorthand for anti-Arab hate crimes.

Perpetrators threw a fire bomb into the entrance hallway and sprayed the monastery walls with the words “price tag,” “death to the Gentiles,” and “revenge.” 

The nuns of the Sisters of Bethlehem order who inhabit the monastery outside the city of Beit Shemesh were not aware of the attack until Tuesday when visitors arrived and noticed the damage. 

Footage from security cameras shows fire burning for several minutes, but no vegetation or wooden furniture caught fire and it died out. 

“The nuns are in shock. They’re the most non-violent people there are. They say they have good relations with the Jews. Why would they do this,” asked R., an Israeli woman close to the nuns. 

Wednesday morning, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, arrived at the monastery and condemned the incident. Dr. Gadi Gvaryahu, Chairman of the Bright Tag organization working to deter violent “price tag” attacks against Palestinians, said in of the attack: “The violation of the monastery is directly linked to attacks against over twenty Christian and Muslim places of worship in the last three years. The attackers seek to cause unrest between the various religions in Israel and bring about bloodshed.” 

Jewish extremists originally used the term “price tag” to describe vandalism and violence that targeted Israelis as well as Palestinians and was aimed at preventing or avenging evacuations of West Bank settlers.

In 2007 the Jewish terrorist Jack Teitel detonated a bomb near the monastery wounding a tractor operator working for the monastery.

Graffiti on Beit Jamal monastery, reads 'price tag' and 'death to Gentiles' Credit: Emil Salman

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