Today, as we join our fellow Americans in mourning the victims of the hate-crime in Charleston, South Carolina, and as we re-commit to fighting political violence, racism, and bigotry, Americans for Peace Now (APN) also condemns the torching and vandalizing of the Church of Loaves and Fishes in Israel.
The attack on the historic Benedictine Monastery near the Sea of the Galilee, which caused damage in the millions, is apparently another in a series of arson and vandalism in Christian and Muslim houses of worship in Israel, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, carried out by extremist Israeli Jews.
APN, an American Jewish organization that works to ensure Israeli security through peace and the viability of Israel's democracy and Jewish character, is alarmed at the proliferation of religion-related hate-crimes and hateful speech in Israel. A day before the historic church in the Galilee was torched and vandalized with graffiti admonishing "idol-worship," Israel's own Minister of Religious Affairs, David Azoulai, was quoted as saying that Reform Jews are "a disaster for the people of Israel."
As the holy Muslim month of Ramadan starts today, we call on Israeli authorities to show zero tolerance toward crimes of hateful, extremist Jewish nationalist-religious zealots, especially ones directed at Israel's religious minorities.
Violence directed at Christian, Muslim and Jewish holy sites in Israel should be treated with the same zero-tolerance approach as an attack on worshipers at a historic church in South Carolina.
For APN's timeline of hate-crimes in Israel click here: http://peacenow.org/entry.php?id=1077#.VYLQ2PlVhBc