By BosNewsLife Middle East Service
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL (BosNewsLife)– Israeli authorities continue to investigate an arson attack on a Jerusalem church building that church h officials say has long been a focal point for anti-Christian sentiment in a Jewish ultra-Orthodox-leaning neighborhood.
Early Friday, October 29, an unknown arsonist broke the basement windows of the Jerusalem Alliance Church Ministry Center and set fire to its bottom floors, said its senior pastor Jack Sara in published remarks.
Ten visiting Western volunteers who were sleeping at the church’s overnight facilities were treated at a nearby hospital for smoke inhalation but were released several hours later, church leaders said.
The volunteers reportedly included Christians from Denmark and the United States. The church building sustained approximately $85,000 of smoke and fire damage. The fire largely destroyed the basement and recent renovations, Sara told reporters. He accused the arsonist of intending to “kill people.”
SETTLERS TO BLAME?
However the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, a Christian group supporting Israel, reportedly warned against pinning the blame on Jewish settlers, who have been accused of perpetrating recent arson attacks on two mosques in the West Bank.
“We urge Israeli authorities to investigate this matter thoroughly and prosecute those found responsible,” the Jewish Telegraphic Agency quoted the Embassy as saying. “We note that his process has already begun and while no conclusions can be drawn yet, it appears this was not a ‘price tag’ attack by extremist Jewish settlers, as some media are already claiming.”
The church was built in 1914 and is reportedly used by several congregations, including an Arab congregation and Messianic Jewish
The attack comes amid mounting concerns among Messianic Jews, who believe Jesus Christ is the Messiah, about violence and threats
directed against them and missionaries working in Israel, BosNewsLife established.