An Israeli interfaith institute has been raising funds to restore the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish following an arson attack by Jewish extremists. "Condemnation …
It’s the right thing to do and in keeping with the tenets of Judaism, which the extremists apparently know nothing about.
Was it on purpose, do you suppose, that they avoided doing any damage to the mosaics? That’s what the Islamic State or the Taliban would have targeted. But at Heptapegon the damage was confined to the modern part of the church, built in the 1970s.
I don’t know. But, in my view, vandalism is an outrage no matter which portion of the Church was damaged. Reparations by the (Orthodox) Jewish community are mandated.
It is worse than I thought:
Three suspects allegedly involved in an arson attack at a church believed to be the site where Jesus performed one of his most famous miracles were arrested on Sunday.
Israeli police confirmed that the suspects were due to appear at Nazareth magistrate’s court yesterday, AFP reported.
The Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes at Tabgha is a Roman Catholic church that sits on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and is visited by some 5,000 pilgrims every day. According to Christian tradition, it marks the site where Jesus fed 5,000 people with just five loaves and two fish – the only miracle other than the resurrection to be recorded in all four of the Gospels.
A fire gutted part of the church last month, causing extensive damage, and officials confirmed that it was an arson attack. A verse from a Hebrew prayer “And false idols will be smashed” was spray painted on a wall in the church which led investigators to believe that Jewish extremists were responsible for the attack.
Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan denounced the incident as a “cowardly and despicable act which contradicts Israel’s basic values,” while Prime Minister Benhamin Netanyahu described it as “an attack on all of us”. He promised that the perpetrators would be found and prosecuted.
It is not the first time that the church has been attacked. According to the IB Times, Jewish teenagers damaged crosses and threw stones at clergy and worshippers in April last year.
A number of other Christian churches have also been targeted in the last few years. A Jerualem building belonging to the Greek Orthodox Church was torched and vandalised in a suspected hate crime in February. Far-right Jewish extremists were blamed, who are known to instigate ‘price tag’ attacks against Palestinian property and religious sites.
Following the June 17 attack, Bishop William Shomali, Auxiliary Bishop of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem,*warned of the growing threat of anti-Christian violence. He told Aid to the Church in Need: “My fear is that these radicals are increasing in number and in the degree of intolerance.”
I am so happy to see they are doing this.