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Preservation of interfaith peace necessary at the Holy Land – Press Release by György Hölvényi MEP and Jan Olbrycht MEP

Preservation of interfaith peace necessary at the Holy Land – Press Release by György Hölvényi MEP and Jan Olbrycht MEP

2015. 06. 26.

Last week unknown perpetrators set fire to the building of the recently renovated Benedictine monastery in Tabgha at the Sea of Gennesaret, causing injuries and significant property damage. According to the first investigations of the Israeli Interior Ministry, the attack was carried out by Jewish religious extremists.

The co-chairs expressed their understanding on Israel’s specific role in the overall security situation of the Middle East region. It is natural and appropriate that Israel devotes particular sensitivity to any threat relating to its citizens and religious communities. It is exemplary that public dignitaries of highest level, thus President Reuven Rivlin and Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely immediately condemned the "the attack on Israeli democracy" and considered it as essential to bring justice to the victims.  The co-chairs highlighted as important that Jewish religious leaders of Israel and Europe proclaimed numerous signs of solidarity. They also pointed out that the majority of the local civil society stood out for the community of the Benedictine monastery, also known as an ultimate meeting point at crossroads of various religions.

The EPP Group MEPs asked the authorities at the same time to make every effort to protect Christianity, amounting to two percent of the overall population. Religious fanaticism is becoming a noticeably growing phenomenon in the Holy Land. It is the third attack in a short time on local Benedictine monasteries, while the investigations so far have all failed.

It is therefore necessary to move from words to action in order to prevent further attacks on religious freedom and human dignity. The co-chairs believe that it is Israel's vital interest to eradicate religious intolerance. In this situation it is the government's responsibility to reduce tension and to take action against radical groups that jeopardize peaceful relations. The rule of law must be a major mean to ensure the peaceful coexistence of religions in the country.