Jerusalem, June 30, 2015 … In an expression of solidarity with a church on the Sea of Galilee that was desecrated in an arson attack two weeks ago, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today visited the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes in Tabgha in order to survey the damage and to meet with church leaders.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, who is currently in Israel, toured the church grounds where arsonists set fire to a monastery and the entrance to the church, which stands on the site of 4th and 5th century churches and preserves an early Byzantine mosaic on the traditional site of Jesus’s miracle of feeding his disciples by multiplying five loaves and two fishes.
Mr. Foxman met with Father Mathias Karl, a German monk and one of the heads of the church, who accompanied ADL officials during their visit. The fire, believed to be an attack by Jewish extremists, damaged the roof and burned prayer books and caused extensive damage to the inside and outside of the building.
“Following the torching of the church in Tabgha, we met with police and security authorities as well as representatives of the Israeli government urging them to do everything in their power to bring the perpetrators to justice,” Mr. Foxman said. “This is the only way to prevent future desecrations.”
Mr. Foxman presented a check from ADL to help finance repairs to the church.
Father Mathias told Mr. Foxman, “The Israeli government must act in a way so that future desecrators will have to face serious consequences. Out of this tragedy we experienced an outpouring of solidarity and respect from all parts of the Israeli community – Jews, Muslims, Druze and Christians.”