Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu condemned the early morning arson attack on a church in the Galil, calling it “an attack on all of us.”
“Freedom of worship in Israel is a cornerstone of Israeli society and is fully protected by the law,” Netanyahu said, adding “We will bring to justice those responsible for this heinous crime. Hatred and intolerance has no place in Israeli society.”
Netanyahu met with Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen on Thursday to discuss the matter.
“Firefighters arrived at the scene … and [the fire] was put out, but extensive damage was caused to the church both inside and out,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
A spokesman for the fire brigade said a preliminary investigation showed the blaze broke out in several places inside the church, evidence that it was started deliberately.
“The torching of the church is a cowardly and despicable act which contradicts Israel’s basic values,” Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan said in a statement.
A police spokesperson said Thursday afternoon that 16 minors were questioned on suspicion of involvement in the crime. They were later released with no charges.