Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

Israel Police Arrest Suspects for Arson at Church of Loaves and Fishes

Israel Police made several arrests in connection with last month’s arson attack on a historic church in northern Israel.

The arrests took place Sunday morning, and the investigation is continuing, police spokesman MIcky Rosenfeld announced.

A fire believed to have been an arson attack on June 18 struck the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes, located on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, at the site where Jesus is believed to have fed thousands of people with five loaves of bread and two fish.

Graffiti reading “False idols will be smashed” and “pagans” were found on the walls of the church, which is built on the site of a fifth-century church and contains restored mosaic floors from the time period.

Police initially detained 16 youths, reportedly all Jewish residents of the West Bank, who were hiking in the area on the evening before the attack, which is believed to have been nationalist in nature.

Details of the arrests including the number of suspects and their home communities are under a gag order. The Shin Bet said in a statement that the arrests were part of “a covert, strenuous and professional investigation that began right after the church was torched.”

The attack was roundly condemned in Israel and around the world.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.