First Published: 2017-12-12

Israeli sentenced to four years for arson attack on church
Jewish extremist Reuveni jailed for ‘aggravated arson’ attack on church where Christians believe Jesus performed miracle.
Middle East Online

Hebrew graffiti was found at the site, reading "Idols will be cast out"

JERUSALEM- An Israeli man was sentenced to four years in prison Tuesday for an arson attack at the church built where Christians believe Jesus performed the miracle of loaves and fishes.

The Israeli district court in the Galilee city of Nazareth had earlier found Yinon Reuveni guilty of "aggravated arson" and two counts of criminal conspiracy for the June 2015 attack.

In addition to four years in prison, his sentence carried a fine of 50,000 shekels ($14,000).

According to Israeli media, Reuveni is 23 and from Baladim, a wildcat Jewish outpost in the occupied West Bank. He has been described as a Jewish extremist.

His lawyer Itamar Ben-Gvir argued that the sentence was overly harsh and said he planned to appeal it as well as the verdict.

Two rooms of the Church of the Multiplication complex in Tabgha on the Sea of Galilee were badly damaged in the fire, but the church itself was not damaged.

Hebrew graffiti was found at the site, reading "Idols will be cast out" or destroyed. The text is part of a common Jewish prayer.

The Roman Catholic church remained closed until February while the damage from the fire was repaired at a cost of around $1 million, of which the Israeli government contributed almost $400,000.

Tabgha was also the target of an April 2014 attack in which church officials said a group of Jewish teenagers had damaged crosses and attacked clergy.

Jewish extremists have carried out vandalism and attacks over the years targeting Palestinians and Arab Israelis as well as Christian and Muslim sites.

 

Kurdish militia fire rockets at Turkish town

Saudi calls for cooperation between OPEC, non-OPEC countries

The changing faces of al-Qaeda in Syria

Yemen releases budget for first time in three years

US to overtake Saudi as world’s second crude oil producer

France presses Turkey to end offensive against Kurds

Moroccans wary depreciation of dirham could raise cost of living, despite benefits

Deserted streets, terrified civilians after Turkey attacks Afrin

Iraqi, Kurdish leaders hold talks on bitter regional dispute

Russia-led Syria peace congress to be held January 30

Turkey launches new strikes on Kurdish targets in Syria

Egypt's Sisi says will stand for re-election

Pence heads to Mideast despite Muslim, Christian anger

Assad regime says Syria a 'tourist' destination

Journalists arrested while reporting Sudan protests

Aid for millions of Palestinians hostage to politics

Lebanon thwarts holiday attacks using IS informant

Mortar fire wounds 14 in Syria mental hospital

Turkish military fires on Kurdish forces in Syria's Afrin

More than 32,000 Yemenis displaced in intensified fighting

UN warns of "lost generation" in South Sudan's grinding conflict

Saudi's refined oil exports offset crude curbs

Turkey's EU minister rejects any option other than full membership

Sudan clamps down on journalists covering bread protests

Tribal feuds spread fear in Iraq's Basra

Turkey says not reassured by US comments on border force

UN chief wants to revive Syria gas attack probe

US has no intention to build border force in Syria

Lebanese intelligence service may be spying using smartphones worldwide

Egypt's Sisi sacks intelligence chief

Trump dashes Netanyahu’s hope to move US embassy to Jerusalem

Cyprus denies bail for Israeli organ trafficker

Rising Yemen currency sparks hopes of relief

Turkish ministries to investigate underage pregnancy cover-up

Iraq PM launches online appeal for election allies

Iran central bank sees claim for billions from German stock market blocked

Iraq signs deal with BP to develop Kirkuk oil fields

Israeli occupation forces raid Jenin, kill Palestinian

HRW chief says 'Nobody should be forcibly returned to Libya'

IS poses threat to Iraq one month after 'liberation'

Seven years since ousting dictator, Tunisians still protest

Iran says Trump jeopardising Airbus deals

China says Iranian oil tanker wreck located

Sudan arrests communist leader after protests

Syrian opposition joins condemnation of US 'border force'