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 was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias education programs for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.

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