Israel’s arrest and expected deportation of members of a Denver-based Christian apocalyptic group has focused the spotlight on the government’s growing fear of violence from visiting doomsday believers as the millennium draws nearer.
But Sunday’s dramatic police raid of members of the group called Concerned Christians has also raised concerns from American religion experts who say Israel may have overreacted in this case.
Violence against Christians in Jerusalem appears to be rising as concerns increase over the millennium and its affect on fervent cult groups making pilgrimages to the Holy Land, Israeli officials said this week. Jerusalem police said they are investigating a recent wave of threats and assaults against Christian organizations in Jerusalem.
In one incident, vandals hurled stones at Jerusalem’s St. Andrew’s Church of Scotland two weeks ago, breaking several of its stained-glass windows.