Palestinians Beat and Pepper-spray Elderly Priest, Stone Churches in Jaffa

Heritage Conservation Project TelAviv Pikiwiki Israel, CC BY 2.5 , via Wikimedia Commons

On Christmas Eve, 2022, a group of Palestinian “youth” assaulted a Coptic Christian church in Jaffa, Israel. After hurling stones and empty glass bottles at St. Anthony’s Church, they stormed it and savagely beat Fr. Michael Mansour, its priest.


The group loudly cursed Christianity, personally insulted the elderly clergyman, and pepper-sprayed him.

The same Palestinian “youths” went on to curse and hurl stones at a Latin church in the same vicinity.

Related: Catholic Group: Christians Face Increased Persecution, ‘Genocide’ in Multiple Countries

Discussing the incident in a later interview, Fr. Michael, who has lived and served his Coptic flock in Jaffa for some four decades, said that he felt “dizzy and short of breath” after being pepper-sprayed and collapsed, but thankfully he recovered. He prayed for peace and calm to be restored, and asked that God may shed his grace on his assailants.

During the assault, no property was stolen from the church or Fr. Michael’s adjoining home, suggesting it was a hate crime.

In a statement, Fr. Constantine Nassar, the head of the Orthodox community of Jaffa, said, “We strongly condemn this barbaric and tribalistic act and call on the responsible authorities to arrest and bring the perpetrators to trial as soon as possible, thereby making an example of them to others.”


An example is certainly needed. Although the few Arabic language sources reporting on this incident portray it as an aberrant act that does not represent Muslim-Christian relations in the Holy Land, persecution of that region’s Christians and their holy places has, in fact, been increasing.

As of this writing, no English-language media have reported on this incident.


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