Israel's 'Loaves And Fishes' Church Reopens 20 Months After Attack By Jewish Extremists
The 'loaves and fishes church' in northern Israel, where Christians believe Jesus performed the miracle of feeding the 5,000, has reponed after an arson attack.
Almost two years after the church was targeted by Jewish extremists, the Roman Catholic church opened for a mass on Sunday.
Two rooms of the church complex in Tabgha, Sea of Galilee, were vandalised and heavily damaged by the June 2015 fire.
The renovation work cost around one million dollars with the state of Israel contributing almost $400,000.
Three extremists were indicted and the incident was dubbed a hate crime against Israel's minority community.
Dignatories and donors, including the President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, attended the ceremony at one of the most popular pilgrim spots in Israel / Palestine.
'We stand up for religious freedom because, as a people, we know very well what it means to suffer religious persecution. And we stand up for religious freedom because we are a democratic state – who believe in the rights for everyone to worship God according to their belief,' Rivlin said.
'The last time I was here, we stood together and looked at the burnt walls and the terrible graffiti. Today, I visit here again, and see the renewal of this historic, special, and holy place. I want to thank all the people who worked hard to restore this place, and to say clearly; that hate cannot win,' the president added.