"It is important that Christians feel free to worship, work, and live in Israel without the fear of violence from a handful of extremists, and we urge the Israeli government to bring the perpetrators of such crimes to justice," continued Nassif.
The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem also emphasized the importance of the Christian community in Jerusalem last week.
"The identity of Jerusalem would not be complete without a living and vibrant Christian presence. The Holy Places and the presence of many pilgrims are not enough to affirm the Christian character of the City: without the presence of a local community, alive and active, there cannot be a Church," wrote Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, apostolic administrator of the patriarchate, in a letter to the Latin Parish in Jerusalem May 3.
Archbishop Pizzaballa said the Church is considering creating a second parish in Jerusalem to strengthen the Christian presence.
"It is a priority and fundamental for all of us, therefore, to not only preserve, but rather to strengthen our presence in Jerusalem and preserve the Christian character of the Holy City," wrote the archbishop.
On May 14, the United States will open its new embassy in Jerusalem, making the U.S. the first country to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel since the state was established in 1948.
After President Donald Trump announced the change last December, Pope Francis expressed his "deep concern" and issued an appeal to the international community to ensure that "everyone is committed to respecting the status quo of the city, in accordance with the relevant Resolutions of the United Nations."
Pope Francis also urged the necessity of maintaining the status quo in his meeting with Theophilos III in October 2017, in which the two discussed the patriarch's concern for the Christian community amid aggression by Jewish settlers.
The pope said, "any kind of violence, discrimination or displays of intolerance against Jewish, Christian and Muslim worshipers, or places of worship, must be firmly rejected. The Holy City, whose Status Quo must be defended and preserved, ought to be a place where all can live together peaceably; otherwise, the endless spiral of suffering will continue for all."