FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show An Israeli Clergyman Blessing Guns?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows guns being blessed by an Israeli clergyman.

Verdict: False

The photo actually shows a priest in Russia blessing guns to be presented to new police recruits.

Fact Check:

Violent clashes between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas began on May 10 and ended May 21 with a mutually-agreed upon ceasefire, The Associated Press reported.

An image shared on Facebook shows a man in religious garb sprinkling water onto a row of firearms and holding a book, while a seated crowd of uniformed people can be seen looking on.

“Israelite clergyman blessing the holy guns with the holy bible to kill wicked people,” the post’s caption reads. “Who says these people are not the chosen people of God?” (RELATED: Does This Video Show a Clinic Staging Injuries for Gaza Citizens During The Israel-Hamas Conflict?)

The photo does not, however, show an Israeli clergyman blessing guns. Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact found the photo actually was taken in January 2008 in Stavropol, Russia, and shows new Kalashnikov machine guns being blessed by a Russian Orthodox priest, according to Getty Images.

“A Russian Orthodox priest blesses new Kalashnikov machine guns during a ceremony presenting the new weapons to recently enlisted members of Russia’s elite ‘OMON’ riot police corps in Stavropol,” the Getty Images caption reads.

An internet search by Check Your Fact didn’t turn up any credible news reports of Russian OMON units being deployed to assist Israeli or Palestinian forces during the recent conflict. The chairman for the Department for External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church said the church was “praying for peace in Jerusalem,” according to a May 24 post on the church’s website.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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