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Press Release

ADL Urges Israeli Chief Rabbinate to Denounce Ultra-Orthodox Practice of Spitting at Christians

New York, NY, December 7, 2011 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has called on the Chief Rabbinate of Israel to publicly denounce the repulsive decades-old practice by ultra-Orthodox Jews of spitting at Christian clergymen they encounter in the street.

"This repulsive practice is a hateful act of persecution against another faith group and a desecration of God's name according to Jewish law," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "This display of hate and bigotry has no place in Israel and is inimical to Jewish values of treating all people with respect and kindness."

In a letter to Chief Rabbis Shlomo Amar and Yona Metzger, ADL urged the rabbinical leaders to meet with Haredi leaders in an effort to end the practice and to join together to educate their community about having respect for coexistence with other faiths.

"The issue makes headlines every few years, and promises are made to combat it, but it continues every day," said Rabbi Eric J. Greenberg, ADL Director of Interfaith Affairs. "We believe it is time for Israel's religious leaders to stand up for the Jewish values of treating others with respect and kindness, and to put an end to this ugly phenomenon."

Jerusalem Magistrate's Court Judge Dov Pollock recently dismissed the indictment of a Greek Orthodox priest who punched a Haredi yeshiva student in the face after the student spat at him in Jerusalem's Old City. Judge Pollock noted that this practice has been recurring for years, and that authorities have not been able to identify the perpetrators or to stop these acts.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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