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Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Holy Land: Jewish neighbours save church from arson attack
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 A church in central Jerusalem used by several denominations survived an arson attack on Tuesday, thanks to quick action from Jewish neighbours who called the emergency services. The church, which is used by Messianic Jews and three other congregations, had been broken into and set alight in three places, but the damage has been described as 'moderate'. Some furniture and the floor was charred but no books were damaged, American-born pastor Charles Kopp said. In 1982 the church was burnt down by an ultranationalist Jewish group, but it was later rebuilt, Pastor Kopp said. He commented: "We all still need to learn the lessons of tolerance and to accept the different among us. We don't suspect anyone specific but they were extremists for sure.'' He added: "We've had a lot of support from our immediate neighbors. The rabbi of a neighbouring Reform congregation has offered the use of her synagogue for services." The Israeli office of the Anti-Defamation League, which monitors hate crimes, called for tolerance. In a statement, the organisation said: "The ADL strongly condemned this arson and apparent hate crime. We urged authorities to do everything in their power to protect all religious sites and see that the perpetrators of the crime are brought to justice.'' A police investigation is now underway. A municipal spokesman said an attack of this kind was extremely unusual and the suburb generally enjoyed very good community relations. . Source: ADL
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