Sit-in held at Haifa's Mar Elias church to protest repeated attacks by Israelis

Sit-in held at Haifa's Mar Elias church to protest repeated attacks by Israelis
2 min read
28 July, 2023
Church authorities and protesters have called on Israeli authorities to put an end to repeated attacks on a church some Jewish Israelis claim is the burial site of a prophet.
Christian sites in Israel have been attacked repeatedly by Israeli extremists [Getty/archive]

Palestinian Christian protesters on Thursday held a sit-in at a Haifa church that has been subject to repeated attacks by extremist Israelis who claim it is the burial place of a prophet.

Churchgoers made prayers and condemned months of far-right Israeli raids at the Mar Elias Church on Mount Carmel, the most recent taking place at dawn on Thursday. 

The gathering was organised by the Melkite Roman Catholic Archdiocese. Father Elia al-Abed warned that the church was being subjected to an "unprecedented and repeated attack" and the protest was a message to end raids on all places of worship.

Translation: A vigil was held after repeated attacks on Mar Elias Church in Haifa, with calls for the protection of Christian sanctities.

A number of extremist Israeli settlers attempted to storm the church hours before the protest, claiming that it was a Jewish holy site and the burial place of the Prophet Elisha.

The attackers were confronted by young church volunteers before the police arrived.

Attacks against Christian holy sites in Israel, including cemeteries and members of the clergy, have surged in the past few years, prompting heads of churches to issue a call for international protection.

Israeli authorities have also placed restrictions on Christian celebrations before, such as during Easter processions in Jerusalem this year.

Christians today make up a tiny percentage of the native Palestinian population, largely due to migration. However, they make up a sizeable minority in the city of Haifa, as do Muslims.