Church leaders in Israel have blamed anti-Christian violence on a a lack of action by the government on the issue. On the heels of the June 18 arson attack against the Church of Loaves and Fishes, Benedictine Father Nikodemus Schnabel, spokesman for the Benedictine Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion, told the Catholic News Service that fires and vandalism have plagued other churches and church property for years.
Fr. Schnabel cited several attacks on the property of his abbey, adding that Benedictine monks are frequently subject to verbal and spitting attacks. He told the news service that no arrests had been made in connection with any of these incidents.
According to CNS, Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal placed the blame squarely on government inaction, saying:"Sometimes the government of Israel condemns (incidents) and many private Israeli institutions and Israelis come or write beautiful letters condemning the attacks, saying this is not their way. But it is not enough for the government to condemn the actions. We ask for follow-up with action."
These remarks were published a day before the Shin Bet announced that the Israeli authorities had arrested five suspects for alleged involvement in the attack against the Church of Loaves and Fishes. A joint Shin Bet and police investigation led to the arrest of five members of a group believed to be behind this attack as well as additional hate crimes. Two of the suspects were indicted and authorities were taking administrative steps against the other members of the group.
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