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IDF Soldiers from the Givati Brigade are suspected of spitting in the direction of an Armenian archbishop and other pilgrims during a procession earlier this month in the Old City of Jerusalem, the Haaretz newspaper reported.
The incident added to a series of cases of controversial behavior by infantry soldiers over the past month.
According to the report, two soldiers were detained by the police on the spot, and a total of three were subsequently interrogated by the IDF.
The military decided that the two soldiers would be disciplined for “disrespectful behavior”, without specifying the wording of the charge.
Church officials reported that on November 7, Archbishop Sevan Gharibian, grand sacristan of the Armenian Apostolic Patriarchate of Jerusalem, along with other senior officials, led a procession that was attended by pilgrims from abroad to celebrate the Feast of the Cross.
The procession started from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and, upon reaching the market square, passed several Givati soldiers, some of whom allegedly spat on the participants and the cross they were carrying.
Koryun Baghdasaryan, Chancellor of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, said, that although the church has experienced such behavior in the past from religious Jews in Jerusalem, “this is the first time the soldiers are spitting on us, on the cross, and on the priests who were there.”
” They stood there and expressed their hatred for the cross and for Christianity,” — he said.
Church officials have filed a police report, and the investigation is still ongoing.
The military said “the incident is not in line with IDF values.”
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