Israel has about 155,000 Christian citizens, less than 2 percent of its 7.9 million population, but the repeated defacing of their sacred sites has shocked the country and drawn official condemnation. Extremist Jewish settlers, angry over what they consider pro-Palestinian policies by the Israeli government, are suspected.
Speaking to reporters, Israeli Cabinet Minister Yuli Edelstein dismissed the vandalism as the work of "a few crazies" and thanked participants for supporting Israel. He said the conference "allays the feeling in Israel that the world is against us."
Leia Vaks, a 28-year old Israeli who handed out snacks at the colorful parade, said she was pleased by the turnout.
"This shows the world that Israel isn't alone," she said, smiling.
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