Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 3rd July 2015.

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Photo of The Bishop of Coventry The Bishop of Coventry Bishop

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of hostility towards religious minorities in Israel following the arsonist attack on and desecration of the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves in Tabgha on the night of 17 June.

Photo of Baroness Anelay of St Johns Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State

Freedom of religion or belief continues to be a priority for this Government. We regularly raise individual cases and discriminatory legislation with other governments and we support overseas programmes designed to overcome prejudice, discrimination and sectarianism.

On 18 June, officials from our Embassy in Tel Aviv lobbied senior contacts in the Israeli National Security Council and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure quick and high level condemnation and action from the Israeli government to catch the perpetrators of this attack. On 19 June our Ambassador in Tel Aviv issued a local statement criticising the vandalising and burning of the Church "Loaves and Fishes" at the Kineret. He said "This was a disgusting act of disrespect at one of Christianity's holiest sites. The British Government welcomes the determination of the Israeli authorities to bring those responsible to justice.”

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