Anger after Jewish man torches historic Jerusalem church
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Anger after Jewish man torches historic Jerusalem church

Rabbi Arie Folger of Conference of European Rabbis was 'shocked that a co-religionist in Israel caused fire damage in a historic church. Such actions run counter to our holy laws'

Church of all nations, Jerusalem, Mount of Olives, Gethsemane,  (Wikipedia/Author	Berthold Werner/ Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0))
Church of all nations, Jerusalem, Mount of Olives, Gethsemane, (Wikipedia/Author Berthold Werner/ Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0))

Jewish leaders have voiced their revulsion after a Jewish man torched a Roman Catholic church in Jerusalem at a site revered by Christians.

The suspect, 49, set fire to the Church of All Nations, also known as the Church or Basilica of the Agony, on the Mount of Olives in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Christians believe Jesus prayed before he was crucified.

He is believed to have poured flammable liquid inside the church and set it alight before a church guard detained him. Four fire crews were needed. The man is understood to hold extreme right-wing views.

A spokesman said: “Fortunately, nobody was hurt, and it did not spread to the entire church. We hope for a serious investigation, especially with regard to motive.”

He added: “If the motive is truly suspected to be racist, I believe many conclusions should be drawn… It seems people here don’t really promote coexistence based on mutual respect of all faithful in the Holy Land.”

Rabbi Arie Folger, committee member at the Conference of European Rabbis, said: “We are shocked that a co-religionist in Israel caused fire damage in a historic church. Such actions run counter to our holy laws… They are abhorrent. Our sages instructed us to act in the spirit of peace.”

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