A famed 4th century church in northern Israel was officially reopened Sunday nearly two years after an arson attack by Jewish extremists.
The Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish at Tabgha on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee is a major destination for tourists and Christian pilgrims.
"We are all equal before God, and equal before the law," said Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at the inauguration ceremony. "We stand up for religious freedom because, as a people, we know very well what it means to suffer religious persecution."
Two radical Jews were charged in July 2015, a month after the arson attack that left the atrium of the church heavily damaged.
The church has a mosaic of bread and fish on the floor, which is thought to mark the blessing by Jesus Christ of a small quantity of food that then miraculously multiplied - hence the church's name - to feed the crowd that had gathered to hear him preach.
Israel contributed about 394,000 dollars towards the reconstruction, but the amount was less than hoped said, according to Heinz Thiel, secretary general of the German Association of the Holy Land, which owns the church.
"After about eight months of construction, the atrium and entrance to the Multiplication Church are finally accessible again to visitors from all over the world," said Thiel.