February 21, 2012 - 17:34 AMT

PanARMENIAN.Net - Local Christian leaders and an Israeli government
representative gathered at the "Baptist House" church in central
Jerusalem on Tuesday, Feb 21, one day after the building was vandalized
with anti-Christian graffiti, Israel Today reported.

The meeting could be best described as a demonstration of solidarity
by the State of Israel with the Christian community, but it was also
somewhat of a celebration of the strong friendship that exists between
Israel and Christians, as well as a call for Christians to respond
to such attack with even more love for Israel.

Chuck Kopp, pastor of the local Baptist congregation, started the
event by suggesting that while the attack was unfortunate and hurtful,
the response by Israelis has had a far bigger impact. Dr. Moti Zaken,
special advisor to Israel's Minister of Internal Security on Minority
Affairs, who stated:

"I apologize on behalf of Israel. You have the solidarity and the
support of the overwhelming majority of Israelis, who view such
attacks with disgust. We will bring those responsible to justice,
but more importantly you must know that the majority of Israelis
reject such actions.

"Nobody deserves to be vandalized like this, but especially not our
special and supportive [Christian] friends."

Also requesting to address the gathering was Kevork Nalbandian,
an Armenian Christian lawyer from Jerusalem's Old City, who made a
clear call for Christians who profess to care for Israel to respond
to such acts of extremism not with bitterness and criticism, but with
more love.

"It is not always easy to refrain from attacking the Israeli side
when we see things like this," said Nalbandian, who has witnessed
regular petty attacks on Christians in the Old City. "But, if we
are true friends, what is the message we want to send? How should
we react? If you saw the vandal who committed this particular crime,
what would you say? Would you be bitter and angry? Or would you say,
'Come, let us be friends' and thereby demonstrate Christ's love?"