Massive demonstration of Arab Christians in Tabgha
TABGHA – On Sunday, June 21,2015, more than 3,000 people held a demonstration at the Benedictine monastery in Tabgha along the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, to protest against the arson that happened at this Christian shrine on June 18.
The attack with racist motives occurred last Thursday, and the Israeli police continue to investigate and search for the perpetrators. The protesters marched carrying Vatican flags and crosses, asking the police and the government to take the necessary measures to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
Dom Gregory Collins, abbot of the Benedictine Dormition Abbey and the Monastery of Tabgha, invited Christians to respond in a Christian way: “A few nights ago, he said, we suffered a severe attack here, a fire that endangered lives. All residents of the region – Christians, Druze, Muslims and Jews should protest against this act. But we are Christians and we must respond like Christians. ”
And he went on to say: “We are in the place where Christ performed his miracles, and we the monks have welcomed many disabled and handicapped here for years. We will replace this terrible fire with the fire of God’s love and forgiveness. ”
Addressing the media, His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch Emeritus said: “The state must know its duty and those responsible must carry out their duties. If the government had been serous in pursuing the latest attacks against Christian and Muslim institutions, these would not have been repeated. We do not ask for protection, neither externally or internally, because we are not minors ” He continued:” The state seems to be the minor, since it is not able to fulfill its responsibity towards all its citizens. A fire like this could take place in another country without the state’s immediate intervention to find and punish the criminal. Here, the state knows the criminal, but does nothing about it. ”
Finally, referring to the Christian position in the midst of these events, the Patriarch Emeritus said: “We are Christians, and our principle is love, that is to say, seeing the face of God in all men: Jews, Druze, Muslims and Christians. But if we are pushed to be confined and isolated by these acts, our answer is that we will stay here, regardless of the pressure on us, and we will never lose hope, for our hope is in God and not not in men. ”
The fire took place in the Monastery of Tabgha, at dawn on Thursday. The damage is immense. The Israel Police also found graffiti on the walls in Hebrew calling for extermination of “idolaters,” an expression used here by the aggressors to describe Christians.
The church at Tabgha was the target of another attack in April last year. The perpetrators were extremist Jewish settlers who mark their attacks “price-tag”, and who follow a policy of revenge towards Palestinian, or even the Israeli army when the Israeli authorities decided to take measures that these settlers consider as threatening for the settlements. Many of these attacks are carried out against Palestinian properties (houses, vehicles, olive farms) and against Christian or Muslim institutions. However, they are rarely arrested and convicted by Israeli authorities.
Photos : Bokra