ADL Condemns Church Vandalism in Israel as a “Despicable Hate Crime”

New York, NY, June 18, 2015 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today strongly condemned the suspected religiously motivated hate crime against the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish at Tabgha on the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel.

ADL called the attack an “affront to all religions and a serious blow to Israeli society,” and called on Israeli law enforcement to fully investigate the suspected hate crime and prosecute those responsible to the full extent of the law.

The 1500 year-old Church was set ablaze early Thursday morning, causing damage to the prayer room and outer areas of the Church. Graffiti reading “False idols will be smashed” – a line from Jewish prayer – was spray painted on one of the Church walls.

“We deplore this despicable hate crime against one of the holiest Christian sites in Israel as an affront to all religions and a serious blow to Israeli society,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, “We express our full support and solidarity with the Roman Catholic community and all Christians affected by this hateful act.”

Mr. Foxman added, “The zealots who committed this heinous attack represent the most extreme elements of society, and must be swiftly apprehended and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We welcome the strong condemnation and commitment of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to prosecute the perpetrators, and underscore his sentiment that hatred and intolerance have no place in Israeli society.”

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of antisemitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of antisemitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.