Greek Orthodox Peasants from Cypress

Holy sites are defended and fought for because they mean something for people. The violence protects noble human aspirations that find expression through sacred objects including the holy places. Always has been the case. 

Judaism had a long story of its prophets contending against idolatry, worshipping other gods than the true God of Israel, but in every purge no matter how severely enforced, even under Josiah in the 7th century BCE, there persisted worship of the high ground among the Israelites, the grove of trees, the various markers of other religions of Baal and Asherath, for example, that were never forgotten or abandoned. Lovingly worshipped.

At Easter, large numbers of Greek Orthodox peasants from Cypress make their way across the Mediterranean to the Church of the Resurrection. The dust of their small farms is still on their clothing. They scrape together savings over a whole lifetime in order to make that one pilgrimage to the Holy City and the holy sepulchre at Easter.

They are, yes, the salt of the earth, good people, living honourable lives, instructed by devotion to their Faith stories. Simple good people who believe.