Two young Jewish extremists arrested over Church of Loaves and fishes arson in Tabgha
by Joshua Lapide
Yinon Reuveni, 20, carried out the arson attack with the help of Yehuda Asraf, 19. Reuveni "sees Christians as idol worshippers and their destruction as a mitzvah”. Christian churches ask for changes to teaching curricula, which are often laden with racist content and intolerance.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – Two young men were charged with arson in connection with a fire about a month ago (pictured) at the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes in Tabgha on the Sea of ​​Galilee.

A court in Nazareth accused Yinon Reuveni, 20, of arson motivated by racism; his friend, Yehuda Asraf, 19, was accused of helping him by providing a car to commit the crime. The two remained silent during questioning and remain in custody because they are deemed dangerous.

The indictment says that Reuveni collaborated with other people, as well as Asraf, to burn down the church. The motive was Reuveni’s hatred for Christianity. "Reuveni,” says the charge sheet, “has extremist views. He sees Christians as idol worshippers and their destruction as a mitzvah,” i.e. a precept to follow.

Reuveni was also accused of obstruction of justice. When police went to arrest him, he tried to escape through the kitchen window of his house.

In recent years, others places of worship have been attacked, including the church near the Upper Room, the Basilica of Nazareth, as well as other Catholic and Greek-Orthodox places of worship.

Muslim mosques and places of worship have also been targeted in what Israeli extremists call a "price tag" on Christians and Muslims for having "taken away their land."

Once such actions were limited to areas on the border with the West Bank and in Jerusalem, but now have spread to much of Israel.

For a while, Christian churches have called on the government to review schools’  educational methods and teaching content, which are often inspired by racist views and intolerance towards other religions.

Yesterday afternoon, the Israeli Embassy to the Holy See issued a statement, announcing the arrest of the two young men, adding that "the State of Israel will continue to do all they can to prosecute those guilty of vandalism towards holy places. Israel has always deplored these actions, which are completely at odds with the values ​​and traditions of Israel. Israel is a democracy that guarantees full religious freedom to all believers. "