Today, an Israeli citizen was sentenced to four years in prison after setting fire to the Christian Church of the Multiplication in northern Israel as part of a hate crime.


Reuveni Photo credit: Basel Awidat/ Flash 90/ Channel 2 News

Today (Tuesday), an Israeli court sentenced Yinon Reuveni to four years in prison after he was convicted of setting fire to the Church of the Multiplication near the Sea of Galilee.

“Despite what people think, this is not a light sentence,” Reuveni’s attorney stated. “Arabs who set fire to a yeshiva received a two-and-a-half-year sentence and Arabs who set fire to a synagogue were sentenced to two years in prison. This is an especially unreasonable punishment for a young man without a criminal record who recently got married and suffered from continuous harassment by the Israel Prison Service and the Shin Bet during the period of his detention.”

The incident took place two years ago, when the suspect set fire to the church and sprayed graffiti on the walls that read “False idols will be smashed”, a quote from the Aleinu prayer, which is recited three times a day by religious Jews. The graffiti was apparently meant to protest the presence of Christians in Israel. At the end of the investigation, the court ruled that the arson was an organized hate crime.