Earlier today in Israel, the Church of the Loaves and Fishes was burned:http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/church-multiplication-loaves-fishes-torched-n377626.
This church is run by the Benedictines, on the site where tradition holds Jesus had the Feeding of the 5,000, a story which appears in all four gospels. This story comes up in our lectionary readings in a few weeks, on July 26, 2015.
The Washington Post reported:
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the arson attack resembled previous acts of vandalism by Jewish extremists who have targeted monasteries, churches, mosques and cemeteries. He said Hebrew graffiti was scrawled at the site, including a verse from a Jewish prayer reading, “False idols will be smashed.”
Sadly, Christians are being pushed out of the Holy Land. Violence by Israeli settlers is out of control, by admission of the local authorities. The native populations, many of whom are Christians whose families date back to the days of the first churches, are under persecution. Keep these people in your prayers.
Note: Here is a press release from the Anti-Defamation League, which fights anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry…
ADL CONDEMNS CHURCH VANDALISM IN ISRAEL AS A “DESPICABLE HATE CRIME”
New York, NY, June 18, 2015 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today strongly condemned the suspected religiously motivated hate crime against the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish at Tabgha on the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel.
ADL called the attack an “affront to all religions and a serious blow to Israeli society,” and called on Israeli law enforcement to fully investigate the suspected hate crime and prosecute those responsible to the full extent of the law.
The 1500 year-old Church was set ablaze early Thursday morning, causing damage to the prayer room and outer areas of the Church. Graffiti reading “False idols will be smashed” – a line from Jewish prayer – was spray painted on one of the Church walls.
“We deplore this despicable hate crime against one of the holiest Christian sites in Israel as an affront to all religions and a serious blow to Israeli society,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, “We express our full support and solidarity with the Roman Catholic community and all Christians affected by this hateful act.”
Mr. Foxman added, “The zealots who committed this heinous attack represent the most extreme elements of society, and must be swiftly apprehended and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We welcome the strong condemnation and commitment of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to prosecute the perpetrators, and underscore his sentiment that hatred and intolerance have no place in Israeli society.”