Jerusalem Church Defaced with Hateful Graffiti

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Unknown assailants spray painted blasphemous graffiti on a church building that's home to several Christian congregations in downtown Jerusalem.

The vandalism, which could be part of an ongoing campaign against non-Jewish religious sites, led to a show of goodwill by neighbors and others.

Vandals sprayed messages of hate -- slurs against Jesus including, "We'll crucify you" and "Death to Christianity" -- in Hebrew on the walls of the Baptist House.

"It's not just defacing, there's a message there," Dr. Al Nucciarone, senior pastor of the Jerusalem Baptist Church, told CBN News.

"Obviously people don't like Christians being here and don't like Jesus or don't respect Jesus for sure," he said.

It's not the first time the Baptist House has been attacked. In 2007, vandals broke into the sanctuary and torched chairs and hymnals. In 1982, arsonists burned the original wooden building to the ground.

But the latest incident brought out the best in the neighborhood.

"We're sad there are extremists who would take things into their own hands like this, but we're also heartened by the outpouring of sympathy from neighbors and people of goodwill, whom I believe are the majority," Charles Kopp, senior pastor of the Narkis Street Congregation, told CBN News.

"People are very sympathetic when something like this happens," Pastor Nucciarone said.

"We'll get a lot of support. Even my friend Barry, [he's] Jewish, came with his rabbi from the conservative synagogue in Arnona because they heard about it and they were quite disgusted about what happened and even wanted to call the mayor's religious affairs person," he said.

Police are investigating whether the vandalism is connected to earlier attacks this month on a Jerusalem monastery and mosque.
 
Dr. Mordechai Zaken, head of the Ministry of Public Security's Desk of Minority Affairs, paid a solidarity visit.
 
"I'm here to show my support, my solidarity, my friendship, not only me. I think I represent the overwhelming majority of Israeli citizens," Zaken said.

He also pointed out that this kind of incident wouldn't have garnered such press coverage 10 years ago.
 
"It also shows Israeli society is more tuned [in], more careful about this kind of thing…so we are progressing, slowly but surely," he said.

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Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl

CBN News Mideast Correspondent

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