SHAFAQNA -Â Catholic leaders in Jerusalem have lodged a formal complaint with the Israeli police against the head of Lehava, a Jewish extremist group that calls for churches in Israel to be torched.
â€œFather Pietro Felet, secretary-general of the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries in the Holy Land, filed an official complaint with the Israeli police against the leader of radical Israeli organization Lehava, Bentsi Gofstein,â€ the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries in Jerusalem said in a statement.
The assembly went on to demand that Gofstein be â€œbrought to justiceâ€ for calling on followers to torch Christian churches in Israel.
â€œThe complaint [lodged by Father Felet] referred to several attacks targeting churches and Christian holy sites by radical [Jewish] parties,â€ the statement added, going on to note that, in the â€œvast majorityâ€ of such cases, â€œthe criminals were never brought to justice.â€
The complaint was filed on behalf of more than 20 Catholic patriarchs and bishops who had expressed concern over what they described as the mounting threat to churches â€œin areas under Israel’s sovereignty or control,â€ according to the statement.
Last week, Gofstein openly called on followers to set fire to churches in Israel, claiming this was what the Torah â€“ the Jewish holy book â€“ called for.
â€œWe must burn churches,â€ he said at a conference in Jerusalem. â€œI call for all churches in Israel to be put to the torch.â€
The Catholic clergymanâ€™s complaint comes amid mounting outrage â€“ both in Israel and abroad â€“ over recent acts of violence by Jewish extremists in Israel and the Israel-occupied West Bank.
Late last month, an 18-month-old Palestinian child was burned to death in an arson attack in a West Bank village, promptingÂ Israeli authorities to arrest several leaders of Jewish extremist groups suspected of violence.