Various Jewish organizations have contributed funds to help rebuild a church located at the site where Christians believe Jesus fed 5,000 people by multiplying five loaves and two fish. The church was burned down in June by anti-Christian Israeli extremists.
Elijah Interfaith Institute, the organization which initiated a crowd funding campaign that has raised over $17,000, set out to rebuild the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes in Tabgha, Israel, in an act of good faith toward people of other religions. A representative for the group recently spoke out against the arsonists who are believed to be part of a Jewish extremist sect.
"If in the name of Judaism one could destroy, in the name of Judaism one should also rebuild," said Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein, the founder of the Elijah Interfaith Institute who started the fundraising campaign in a Huffington Post blog post earlier this month.
Various prominent Orthodox rabbis and Mosaica, another interfaith organization in Israel, are helping out with the efforts.
Similarly, American groups such as the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League have also donated funds.
"Your donation will be used to rehabilitate the structure Central encounters and friendship. It [will] also rehabilitate the image of Judaism in the eyes of the world. It also [will] heal the pain in the heart of all that Judaismis infected with the plague of hatred," read a translation of the crowd funding page.
Israel's security agency Shin Bet said the arsonists were followers of an "extremist Jewish ideology" that holds to the belief that "only someone who fights Christianity can call himself a Jew."
The suspects allegedly used gasoline to burn down the church. They also left graffiti on one of the walls in the church which labeled it as a place of idol worship. The building was completely destroyed by the fire and priests and other volunteers projected that the rebuilding process will be expensive and time consuming.