Israeli leaders on Wednesday expressed revulsion over the latest act of vandalism against Christian symbols. Hours earlier, presumably Jewish assailants spray-painted anti-Christian graffiti on the walls of a monastery in central Jerusalem.
The Monastery of the Cross at the southern end of Jerusalem's Sakker Park was defaced with the slogans "Jesus - son of a whore", "Happy Hannukah" and "Price Tag."
That last slogan identified the vandals as belonging to an underground group of young Israelis who believe they must make the government "pay" for policies that stymie Jewish settlement activity in Judea and Samaria.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was ashamed by the attack, and vowed to bring those responsible to justice.
"The Jewish values on which we were reared, and according to which we educate our children, forbid us from any such behavior," said Netanyahu. "We’ll prosecute to the fullest extent of the law the lowlifes who perpetrated this crime."
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat added that such "deplorable phenomena whose sole purpose is to damage coexistence in Jerusalem...must be eradicated."
Father Claudio, the monastery's abbot, demonstrated genuine Christian love in the face of the attack. He said the graffiti was "very upsetting," but went on to say that he "forgives those who did this." The abbot ended by wishing all Israelis a Happy Hannukah.
A day later, Israeli rabbis returned the sentiment when they and their followers gathered outside the Monastery of the Cross to demonstrate against such acts of vandalism targeting churches. Father Claudio joined the rabbis and expressed his heartfelt thanks for their solidarity.