Christian sites in Jerusalem desecrated by hate graffiti

An Orthodox monk cleans the graffiti from the door of the Greek Orthodox Seminary, next to the Dormition Abbey. Reuters

Police in Israel are investigating an "assault on religious harmony" after anti-Christian graffiti was sprayed on the walls of the Catholic Benedictine Abbey of the Dormition in Jerusalem and the Greek Orthodox seminary next door. 

The graffiti, in Hebrew, bears similarities to previous anti-Christian attacks by Jewish extremists.

The Abbey is believed to be on the site where Mary, Mother of Jesus, ended her days on earth.

The phrases sprayed onto the walls in red and black ink included "kill the pagans", "death to heathen Christians, enemies of Israel", "Christians to Hell" and "the revenge of the people of Israel is yet to come." There were also pictures of a blood-stained sword and a Star of David.

Police said the graffiti was discovered during a patrol and an investigation has been opened.

The Benedictine abbey is on the slopes of Old Zion just outside the Old City of Jerusalem.

In a previous attack on the abbey in 2014, furniture and wooden crosses were set on fire. Two Israelis, including a minor, were recently charged over this incident and an earlier arson attack on a church on the Sea of Galilee.

Wadia Abu Nasser, of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops in the Holy Land, said: "Despite promises by the government, these incidents continue to happen. If we were to actually count all of these incidents, they'd be in the hundreds."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during his cabinet meeting yesterday: "This is an action deserving of every condemnation, there is no place for actions like these. Israel is a place where Christians and all other religions enjoy freedom of worship, and the only place in the Middle East where the Christian population is growing. The police are working on finding those responsible."