'Loaves' church in Israel reopens 20 months after Jewish arson

Sunday February 12 2017

Christians attend a mass at the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish in Tabgha, on February 12, 2017, upon it's reopening following eight months of renovation. PHOTO | AFP



The church in northern Israel where Christians believe Jesus performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes reopened on Sunday, 20 months after an arson attack by Jewish extremists.

Two rooms of the church complex in Tabgha on the Sea of Galilee were vandalised and badly damaged in a June 2015 fire.

Christian dignitaries and donors attended a ceremony and mass in the Roman Catholic church, with the complex reopened to pilgrims following eight months of renovation work at a cost of around one million dollars, of which the state of Israel contributed almost Sh40 million ($400,000).

Three Jewish extremists were indicted for the attack on the church where Jesus fed the multitude by multiplying loaves and fishes, in what was termed a hate crime against Israel's minority community.

The three have yet to be sentenced.