Hundreds of Arab Christians clashed with Israeli police in a protest on Friday in the city of Haifa over a controversial museum exhibit, The Times of Israel reports.
The clashes erupted when protesters attempted to force their way into the Haifa Museum of Art, prompting law enforcement forces to deploy stun grenades and tear gas. Three officers sustained injuries after being pelted with rocks.
גבר בן 32 נעצר ועוד ארבעה גברים עוכבו לחקירה בהפגנה מול מוזיאון חיפה, במחאה על תערוכה פוגענית ברגשות הציבור הנוצרי. המשטרה פיזרה את ההפגנה בכוח, תוך כדי שימוש ברימוני הלם. כמו כן, שלושה שוטרים נפצעו בראשם במהלך ההפגנה ופונו לקבלת טיפול רפואי @10elilevi @samiaah10 pic.twitter.com/1iO1BRjFfL— חדשות עשר (@news10) 11 января 2019 г.
According to the newspaper, the protests were sparked by a sculpture known as "McJesus", which depicts fast-food chain McDonald’s mascot Ronald McDonald on a cross.
The sculpture, made by Finnish artist Janei Leinonen, was put on display at the museum in August as part of the "Sacred Goods" exhibition which also "features a number of other pieces depicting Jesus", including one of him as a Ken doll, as well as imagery related to other religions.
Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev sent a letter to the museum administration on Thursday, urging them to remove the sculpture.
"[The] Disrespect of religious symbols sacred to many worshippers in the world as an act of artistic protest is illegitimate and cannot serve as art at a cultural institution supported by state funds," she argued.