Armed Hooligans Attack Jerusalem Armenians

On December 28, at noon, some 30 masked and black-dressed terrorists wearing ski masks attacked Armenian priests and civilians at the Cows’ Garden adjacent to the Patriarchate at the southwestern part of the Armenian Quarter.

The terrorists, who were armed with sticks, tear-gas grenades, and stones, attacked Armenian clergy, deacons, seminarians, and civilians who had been guarding the Patriarchate’s Cows’ Garden against a possible provocation by Israeli-Australian developer Danny Rothman (Rubinstein) and his partner George Warwar (aka Hadad). Rothman and Warwar were unhappy that the Armenian Patriarchate had recently withdrawn its signature from a lease which allowed the Australian developer to build a luxury hotel at Cows’ Garden.

Bishop Koryun Baghdasaryan, the present director of the Patriarchate’s real estate department, said Armenians, including their priests, were attacked, several severely-injured Armenians were taken to hospital and two Armenian civilians were arrested. Patriarchate’s Chancellor Aghan Gogchyan said the goons also used pepper spray and other chemicals.

The criminal incident was covered by The Jerusalem Post and However, there were distinct differences in their coverage.

The Jerusalem Post reported police made arrests on both sides while Israelahayer mentioned two Armenian civilians were arrested. The Jerusalem Post said the attackers were Muslim Arabs. The Armenian outlet didn’t identify the cowardly attackers.

The Jerusalem Post, quoting the city’s deputy mayor, said the police had arrived promptly to stop the fight. Israelahayer reported the police, who are stationed less than 200 meters away, arrived late.

The Patriarchate statement said: “This is the criminal response we have received for filing a lawsuit with the Jerusalem District Court regarding the Cows’ Garden issue.”

The Patriarchate’s statement added: “The Armenian Patriarchate’s existential threat is now a reality. Armenian clerics in Jerusalem are fighting for their lives against impure provocation.”

Update, 30 December 2023

By Daoud Kuttab, Melh al-Ard (Salt of the Earth), 30 December 2023

An Israeli court sided with the Armenian Patriarchate about the latter’s ownership of the “Cows’ Garden” and released the two Armenian activists, Paul Djernazian and Bedig Giragossian on condition that they show up at the police station for questioning if so ordered.

The two Armenians were arrested after they defended, on Dec. 28, the church property from attack. According to a statement by the Armenian Patriarchate, 30 men armed with canes and their faces covered with ski masks attacked a peaceful Armenian sit-in at Cows’ Garden causing serious injury to Armenian priests and the arrest of the two Armenian activists.

Solidarity group photo includes released Armenian activists

Hagop Djernazian told Melh al-Ard (Salt of the Earth) that the court had ruled what the masked thugs had done was “absolutely illegal, and the Xana company should provide proof it is in charge of the land. As long as Xena does not provide proof, “Cows’ Garden” remains the property of the Armenian Patriarchate.”

Djernazian said the community is very happy with the Israeli court’s decision. “The good thing is that the court ruled we, Armenians, legally possess the land.”


While the court’s decision is welcome news, it does not address the major issue which has preoccupied the Patriarchate: bumbling Patriarch Nourhan’s wrong-headed decision to co-sign an illegal 98-year lease with Xana which would build a luxury hotel at the “Cows’ Garden”. Patriarch Nourhan had no right, according to the Patriachate’s laws, to sign the long-term lease. The maximum lease period the Patriarchate is authorized to sign is 45 years. Incredible as it may sound, for the past three years Patriarch Nourhan claimed he had signed the lease without reading the lease document.

It’s highly possible that Xana’s CEO Danny Bernstein will now try to obtain the court’s decision that the “Cows’ Garden” lease he and the Patriarch had co-signed was legal. If the court agrees, it means the Patriarchate will lose “Cows’ Garden” because according to Israeli law, at the end of a long real estate lease, ownership of the property reverts to the tenant.


  1. How come this large group of 30 Israeli masked thugs were able to enter the Cows Garden of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem undetected? How come they were not identified by the Israeli police with their sophisticated security apparatus using high efficiency cameras, drone surveillance and advanced technology to detect and prevent any such threats before happening?

    The answer is very clear.

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