Christian Monastery outside Jerusalem Vandalized

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- In what police suspect may have been a "price-tag" attack following the government's evacuation of Migron on Sunday, vandals set fire to a wooden door and spray painted hateful anti-Christian graffiti on the monastery walls at Latrun.

"We've formed a special unit to investigate the attack on the Christian monastery," Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld told CBN News.

"One of the main directions we're considering is revenge for the recent evacuation of Migron, but it's too early to say," he said.

"Price tag" attacks against Palestinian Arabs, military facilities, and sometimes Christian sites attempt to exact a price for actions against Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

In this case, Sunday's eviction of Migron's 300 residents may have been behind the vandalism at the monastery.

Right-wing activist Baruch Marzel admitted that "evacuating Migron could fan the flames."

"There's an entire community that feels very bitter," Marzel said.

The monks were able to douse the fire before it could spread, the monastery's abbot, Father Louie, told YNet

"At around 3:30 a.m., a monk sleeping in one of the guest rooms heard a noise, went outside, and saw the door burning," he said. "He entered our rooms and began shouting and waking us up."

It is the first such attack in the history of the monastery, which was founded in 1890 by Trappist monks from Germany, France, and Belgium.

Monday's attack isn't the first. In February, vandals spray painted anti-Christian graffiti on the Baptist House in downtown Jerusalem.

But the attack brought a strong show of support for Christians.

Senior Pastor Charles Kopp told CBN News at the time he was "heartened by the outpouring of sympathy from neighbors and people of good will," who, he believes, "are the majority."

Dr. Mordechai Zaken, head of the Ministry for Minority Affairs, visited the Baptist House to show "my support, my solidarity, my friendship."

"I think I represent the overwhelming majority of Israeli citizens," Zaken said.

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