JERUSALEM (JTA) – A Greek Orthodox seminary in Jerusalem was set on fire in what is believed to be a hate crime.
Graffiti reading “Redemption of Zion” and disparaging Jesus were spray-painted on the walls of the seminary in the early Thursday morning attack. A room was damaged in the blaze; no one was injured.
“There is no room for such deplorable activity in Jerusalem,” Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said in a statement. “We must eradicate this behavior and bring those responsible to justice.”
Barkat said he asked the city’s police chief to speed up the investigation.
The attack comes a day after a mosque was set ablaze in the West Bank village of Jaba, near Bethlehem, in what is believed to be a nationalist attack.
“These attacks are a direct consequence of the calls for recognition of Israel as a ‘Jewish State’ and Jerusalem as the ‘eternal and undivided capital of the Jewish people,’” chief Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat said in a statement issued by the Palestinian Authority. “We hold the Israeli government fully responsible for those attacks that aim at terrorizing our people in order to leave their land.”