Church where Jesus fed 5 000 gets torched

2015-06-18 11:06

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Tel Aviv - A church in northern Israel believed built on the site of the Christian Feeding of the 5 000 miracle was torched on Thursday, possibly by Jewish attackers, police say.

Firefighters put out the blaze in the fourth-century Church of the Multiplication on the north-western shore of the Sea of Galilee, but floors were blackened and heavy damage was caused, police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said.

He said it was not clear who torched the church, but an anti-Christian slogan was spray-painted in red letters on one of the walls.

"It could also be someone who was drunk. It doesn't have to be Jewish extremists. It's not clear yet," he said, adding police were investigating the "serious incident."

Acting Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely strongly condemned the suspected arson, saying freedom of religion was a top priority for Israel.

The church has a small mosaic of bread and fish on the floor, believed to mark the blessing by Jesus Christ of a small quantity of food that then miraculously multiplied, hence the church's name to feed the crowd that had gathered to hear him preach.

The four Christian gospels tell the story of the Feeding of the 5 000 with variations in the number of people present and the number of loaves of bread and fish transformed.

The site is a major destination for tourists and Christian pilgrims.

Read more on:    israel  |  religion

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