This is really horrible, and we visited the place in Oct. 2014
A fire broke out at the Church of the Multiplication at Tabgha, on the Sea of Galilee, early Thursday in what police suspect was an arson attack.
Firefighting crews successfully doused the blaze and two people who were in the building suffered minor smoke inhalation.
In an entrance corridor of the building, which is believed by Christians to be the site of Jesus’s miracle of multiplying two fish and five loaves to feed 5,000 people, Hebrew graffiti was found, reading, “the false gods will be eliminated” — a quote from the Aleinu prayer.
No significant damage was inflicted to the church itself, as the fire raged mainly on the roof. Some damage was caused to a book storage room, offices, and an event hall.
The church, which is run by the Catholic Benedictine Order, is best known for its fifth-century mosaics, including one depicting two fish flanking a basket of loaves.
Right-wing Jewish extremists have in the past carried out numerous arson and graffiti attacks against Christian sites, as as well as against Arab property in the West Bank and Jerusalem under the “price tag” slogan.
The term “price tag” is used by Jewish extremists to describe vandalism or attacks typically carried out against non-Jews or their property, ostensibly as retribution for Palestinian attacks or Israeli government actions deemed contrary to settler interests.
Lt. (res.) Shadi Halul, who heads the Christian IDF Officers Forum, told Army Radio Thursday that those responsible for the fire were mistaken if they thought such actions benefit their cause.
“If in this case Jewish zealots are fingered, then, first of all, they clearly don’t represent all the Jews. They’re criminals who should be in prison and not walking around freely. If they think this is how they can help themselves and strengthen their own beliefs then I just want to say it only damages their beliefs and damages their justice.”
Chief Superintendent Ran Levi of the Tiberias Police told Army Radio that police were alerted to the incident at 4.00 a.m. on Thursday morning.
There were 12 volunteers in the building at the time, and they attmepted to contain the flames, Levi said. Two of them were hospitalized after suffering from smoke inhalation and then later released.
As for suspects, Levi said it was too early to make any suggestions. “We are really at the beginning of the process and we still don’t have any leads,” he said.
Brand gesticht in Kerk van de Broodvermenigvuldiging
The aftermath of a suspected arson attack at the Church of the Multiplication on the Sea of Galilee on Thursday, June 18, 2015
Joseph Feld Commented:
"It's not yet clear whether it was Jews or Muslims behind the fire -- both groups in Israel speak Hebrew, as do Israeli Christians. Throughout the Middle East, including the PA, Muslims have attacked Christians and it might turn out to be so in this case also. If it was misguided Jewish youth, they have misunderstood the various Biblical references to destroying idolatry in the Holy Land. They have taken references to ancient Canaanite idolatry and tried to apply it to monotheistic religions like Christianity and Islam."