Old video of clash between Israeli police and Christian worshippers in Jerusalem shared as recent

By: Rajini KG
November 2 2023

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Old video of clash between Israeli police and Christian worshippers in Jerusalem shared as recent

Screenshots of the claims made online (Source: Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The video was captured in April 2023 and is not related to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

Claim ID e93ba4fe

What is the claim?

A video of police officials assaulting and dragging certain individuals across the floor is circulating on social media with the claim that Christian worshippers were manhandled by the Israeli Police in Jerusalem recently. A Facebook user shared a video in one such post with the caption: “The Israeli police are beating and arresting civilians praying at a church in Jerusalem! #palestine.” 

Archived versions of such posts can be found here, here, and here. The posts used the word ‘breaking’ in their captions, suggesting this happened recently, in the aftermath of the Israel-Hamas conflict. 

Screenshot of the viral video circulating online. (Source: Facebook/X/Screenshots/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, the video is old and shows clashes between Israeli police and worshippers during the Holy Fire Ceremony in April this year.

What are the facts?

Through a reverse image search conducted on 2 November, we found that the viral video is old. We found the same clip on the X (formerly Twitter) account of the Turkish news website Anadolu English, posted on April 15, 2023. The caption on the news portal's post states, “Israeli security forces attacked Orthodox Christians who wanted to attend Holy Fire ceremony at Church of Holy Sepulchre in occupied East Jerusalem.” The uniforms of the police personnel and the background behind them match the visuals seen in the viral video.

Comparison of viral video and Anadolu English video. (Source: X/Screenshots)

TRT World posted the same video clip on its X account on April 16, and Roya News English, a local news channel in Jordan, published this video on its YouTube channel ‘@royanewsenglish’ on April 15, 2023.

According to Haaretz (an Israeli news website), Israel had limited the entry of worshippers for the celebration of the Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. Protesters or worshippers gathered inside and outside the church were assaulted by the police as they attempted to break through their barricades and violate restrictions to enter the church, the report added. The government had capped the participants at 1,800, and the police officers later allowed around 2,200 participants.

The ‘Holy Fire’ ceremony is celebrated every year on the Great Saturday before Easter at Holy Sepulcher church, where it is believed Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected. In 2022, too, Israel had imposed similar restrictions on the number of participants allowed inside the church.

The verdict

A six-month-old video of a clash between Israeli police and Christian worshippers at the Holy Sepulcher church in Jerusalem was misrepresented to be from October 2023.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before