American Tourist Had ‘Jerusalem Syndrome’ When He Smashed Roman Statues: Lawyer

Ilan Rosenberg/Reuters

An American tourist arrested in Israel after smashing two ancient Roman statues on Thursday was suffering from a little-known mental disorder dubbed the “Jerusalem syndrome,” his lawyer claimed, in which foreign pilgrims visiting the city start believing they are people from the Bible.

The alleged vandalism took place at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, which described the incident as a “troubling and unusual event.” A pair of second-century Roman statues were damaged, with photos from the museum showing that a marble head of the goddess Athena had been thrown off its pedestal onto the floor, and a sculpture of a pagan deity had been broken into pieces.

Local authorities identified the suspect as a 40-year-old Jewish American tourist and said that answers he’d given to initial questioning indicated he was motivated to smash the statues because he believed they were “idolatrous and contrary to the Torah.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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