Christians in Israel request prayer following a recent arson attempt at the Basilica of All Nations in Gethsemane, Jerusalem.

On 4 December, a Jewish extremist entered the church, poured gasoline on the pews and ground, and set it alight. Church guards were quick to spot the arson attempt, apprehend the perpetrator and extinguish the fire. According to prosecutors, more than $8,000 damage was caused to nine pews in the church.

Israeli police arrested and detained Yehusha Alkobi (49) who was charged with arson and “entering a place of prayer for racist reasons.”

The Catholic Ordinaries (the leading clergy of Catholic communities in the Holy Land), issued a statement thanking God that the fire was quickly extinguished and thanking the Israeli police for their prompt action. They also demanded that the Israeli authorities “seriously investigate this arson attack, especially since it seems that it is racially motivated.”

The Latin primate of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Patriarch Pizzaballa, remarked on the need for mutual respect between religions and requested that we pray accordingly.

The incident was met with widespread condemnation, but Wadie Abunassar, a spokesman for the Catholic Ordinaries, pointed out that Israeli authorities failed to issue a public statement condemning the action.

Please pray that:

  •  The Lord will encourage the Christian communities in the face of such attacks and enable church leaders to respond faithfully
  •  In addition to prosecuting individual perpetrators of these attacks, the Israeli authorities will thoroughly investigate the forces  behind these incidents, and  be diligent to publicly condemn the violent actions of extremists and encourage peaceful co-existence
  •  Mutual respect between religions will be fostered
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