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In video - 'McJesus' sculpture causes uproar in Haifa

Jan. 12, 2019 12:57 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 21, 2019 1:44 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem strongly protested, on Saturday, against offensive depictions of Jesus Christ Ronald McDonald and the Virgin Mary as a Barbie doll that were on display in a museum in Haifa City, in northern Israel.

The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate called on the Haifa Municipality to remove the paintings and sculptures that it said were offensive to Christians and demanded an apology for sponsoring such an event.

“No one should offend others under the pretext of freedom of expression,” the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate added, noting that it respects freedom of expression as long as it is not offensive to religions and beliefs.

Hundreds of Palestinian Christians and Muslims demonstrated in Haifa City on Friday outside the Haifa Museum of Art, demanding removal of the offensive display of a sculpture depicting Ronald McDonald, the mascot of the worldwide known fast-food company, on a cross.

Jesus Christ was depicted as a clown and as a Ken doll, while the Virgin Mary was depicted as a Barbie doll.

The “McJesus,” which was sculpted by Finnish artist, Janei Leinonen, and depicts a crucified Ronald McDonald, went on display in August as part of the Haifa museum’s “Sacred Goods” exhibit.

The display also featured a number of other pieces depicting Jesus Christ, including one as a Ken doll, while the Virgin Mary was depicted as a Barbie doll.

The demonstrators clashed with Israeli police amid calls to remove the “offensive” artwork, during which the police attacked the demonstrators with tear-gas bombs and stun grenades to disperse them.

According to the Walla news outlet, one of the demonstrators complained that the Israeli government was slow to react to their concerns because they were from the Christian minority. He said, “If they put up (a sculpture of) Hitler with a Torah scroll they would immediately respond.”

In response to the protest, the Haifa Museum of Art said it would place a sign at the entrance to the exhibit, explaining it contains “potentially offensive content.”

The video below shows demonstrators outside the museum, demanding the removal of the artwork:
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