Arsonists attack Jerusalem’s Baptist House

Wednesday, October 24, 2007 |  by Sara Fischer & Michael Schneider

There will be no Bible study tonight at the Baptist House in central Jerusalem as late Tuesday night the building was set ablaze causing extensive damage to the sanctuary where four local congregations meet weekly.

“If this happened to a synagogue abroad, everyone would shout anti-Semitism,” a neighbor told Israel Today.

Contrary to media reports, Joe Broom, business service manager of the Baptist Convention in Israel said that Bibles remained unscathed. Broom was called to the Baptist House by neighbors who witnessed flames and smoke coming from the building.

“The neighbors called the fire department, when I arrived there were three fire trucks outside,” Broom told Israel Today. “The fire had already been put out by the time I arrived, but I couldn’t see the other end of the building as it was filled with smoke.”

Services at the Baptist house have been canceled for this weekend as the building undergoes a thorough cleaning and receives a new coat of paint. Broom says he hopes the congregations that share the facility will be able to hold services the following weekend.

There are no official suspects in the arson of the church, but the Baptist House has had a history of damage caused by Orthodox anti-missionary groups.

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