Intruders break into church in Jerusalem, set it ablaze
JERUSALEM - Arsonists burst into a Jerusalem church and set the building on fire, church officials said yesterday, raising suspicions that Jewish extremists were behind the attack.
The church in west Jerusalem's Rehavia neighborhood was rebuilt after it was burned down 25 years ago by ultra-Orthodox Jewish extremists.
Members of the four denominations who use it today include foreign workers, Sudanese refugees who came to Israel through Egypt, and two congregations of highly controversial "Jews for Jesus" who believe that Jesus Christ was the Jewish Messiah.
While Messianic Jews are unpopular in Israel, some extremist Jews who fear missionary activity also believe Christians should not have an official presence in Jerusalem.
The arsonists broke into the building late Tuesday, setting it afire in three different places. The floor was severely charred and many chairs were burned. No one was in the building at the time.
No holy books were damaged in the fire, said Joseph Broom, the business services manager.