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B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:

B’nai B’rith International strongly condemns the arson attack on an important church along the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel and commends Israel’s prime minister for deploring the act as “an attack on all of us.”

Those behind the fire apparently started it earlier today, gutting much of the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes and leaving behind inflammatory remarks spray-painted along a church wall.

This ugly, indefensible crime seems to be the work of fringe extremists. Their gross brand of fanaticism is rightly denounced by virtually the entire spectrum of Israel’s society.

Christians are an important component of the citizenry of Israel, as well as the community of Israel’s friends internationally. The protection of minorities and religious liberty is an elemental pillar of Israeli democracy that must be defended.

B’nai B’rith is confident that the Israeli authorities will use all the resources necessary to track down the assailants, bring them to justice, and fight any repetition of today’s crime against a church and against coexistence.