Cables sent by Israeli ambassadors in Europe to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem indicate that the recent desecration of a monastery outside Jerusalem has resulted in a major hit to Israel's image in the continent.
"The media coverage (of the vandalism) is causing grave damage to Israel's image in France," a cable sent by the embassy in Paris read.
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Media outlets in Italy criticized Israel's security forces, who "apprehend terrorists before they leave for their mission but fail to catch a few Jews who are operating right under their noses."
Latrun Monastery after desecration
The vandals spray painted "Jesus is a monkey" and the words "mutual responsibility" along with the names of illegal outposts Upper Migron and Maoz Esther on the monastery's wall. They also burned the wooden door at the monastery entrance.
The Foreign Ministry consequently decided to a hold an event in solidarity with the monastery. Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said that Israel strongly condemns the act and will continue to maintain freedom of religion.
"The attack against you is terror directed against us all," he told the monks during the ceremony. "This is not the Zionist or Jewish way."
Speaking at a convention of the International Police Association, Israel Police Chief Yohanan Danino said extremist groups "have one goal – to disrupt the gentle fabric of life in our region. We plan to do everything in our power to track down the perpetrators as soon as possible, just as we did in Bat Ayin and in the spray-painting of hate slogans at Yad Vashem."
Meir Ochayon contributed to the report