has long been a focal point for anti-Christian sentiment in a Jewish
ultra-Orthodox-leaning neighborhood, church officials said.
windows of the Jerusalem Alliance Church Ministry Center and set fire to its
bottom floors. An area resident noticed the fire and called the fire department,
which arrived 20 minutes later and found the church basement engulfed in flames.
inspecting the rest of the building, said Jack Sara, senior pastor of the
sleeping at the church’s overnight facilities. The volunteers, who were visiting
Israel from the United States and Denmark, went to a nearby hospital and were
treated for smoke inhalation; they were released several hours later, church
damage. The fire largely gutted the basement and destroyed recent
carried so much hate; whoever set the fire had to know people were inside the
church, he said.
“Whoever did it intended to kill people.”
accidental. Then they shifted and said the fire was arson, only to change back
again to their original claim that it was accidental.
announced their findings, Sara said investigators told him the fire was “very
suspicious.” Contrary to some reports, he insisted that there were no candles
lit in the basement when the fire broke out.
expatriates and both Arab Christians and Messianic Jews, routinely receives
threats. Referring to Orthodox Jews, militant Palestinians and even some
Orthodox Christian communities, Sara said he receives hatred “from all sides.”
Bibles in Israel. Not far from the ministry center is the Narkiss Street Baptist
Church. In 2007, the church was damaged in a fire believed to be set by
ultra-Orthodox Jews. The church building had been rebuilt on the site of a
church facility destroyed 25 years prior by anti-Christian groups.
a Messianic Jewish pastor’s home that left his teenage son clinging to life, the
disruption of religious services by mobs of protestors and assaults on members
of groups deemed “missionaries” by far-right, Orthodox Jews.
Palestine Bible College was founded at the building.
Israel, the church opened other buildings in the Old City of Jerusalem to serve
Arab Christians hampered from attending religious services by newly established
political realities. Since 1967, Sara said, the building has been used for many
for protection of the congregation and for a blessing on its enemies.
building to be “a beacon of light reflecting God’s love to all people.”
proclaiming peace and justice for all human beings, declaring God’s love for all
of our neighbors, friends and enemies,” he said.