Tabgha (Agenzia Fides) - Thousands of Christians in Galilee gathered on Sunday, June 21 at the Church of the miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes in Tabgha, made the subject of an arson attack last Thursday attributable to extremist Jewish settlers (see Fides 18 and 19/06/2015). It was supposed to be a prayer meeting, to be held on the occasion of the reopening of the church for Sunday Mass, after the days dedicated to the estimation of the damage it suffered. Hundreds of young people protested, blocked the roads carrying crosses and white and yellow flags of the Vatican, and the singers sang in honor of Jesus and Maria.
The Mass was celebrated by Michel Sabbah, Patriarch Emeritus of Jerusalem of the Latins. Many senior heads of diplomatic missions in Israel – report the media linked to the Catholic Studies and Media Center - condemned the arson attack and reiterated that they will continue to follow the developments of the investigation which have begun to identify the perpetrators of the act of intimidation against the church. The celebration was also attended by the US deputy ambassador to Israel, William Grant, while the Benedictine monastic community living in the Sanctuary welcomed the Druze and Muslim delegations who came to express their solidarity.
The investigations started by the Israeli police forces have not yet led to the identification of those responsible and of the authors of the criminal act. After the attack, inscriptions in Hebrew bearing the passage of a prayer recited three times a day by practicing Jews, asking God to destroy idols and pagan were found on the walls of the church.
The intimidating attack against the church of Tabgha is comparable to the numerous desecrations carried out by groups of extremist Jewish settlers to the detriment of monasteries, churches and Christian cemeteries since February 2012. The militant extremist groups close to the settler movement have also led attacks against mosques frequented by Palestinian Arabs of Islamic religion. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 22/06/2015)