On October 2, 2017, a statement by Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi condemning the September 20 vandalism incident at St. Stephen's Church in Beit Jemal was published:

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"I was very saddened to hear about last Wednesday's indefensible act of vandalism against the St. Stephen’s Church in Beit Jemal. I strongly condemn this, and any other act of vandalism against a holy site of any faith.

Vandalism of holy sites stands in complete contrast to the State of Israel's values and traditions as a Jewish state. Israel is a democracy that guarantees freedom of religion and worship and is committed to coexistence and a culture of mutual respect.

Vandalism of Christian holy sites in Israel is not only an attack against Christianity, it is an attack on our democracy.

The State of Israel will not tolerate vandalism against any holy site. We will act with determination to find those responsible and bring them to justice."