Arab member of Knesset, Muhammad Barakeh (Hadash party), said that the Israeli acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is “infected with racism, and rejected Olmert’s criticism of the Islamic leadership in Israel for what Olmert described  as “using the Friday attack at the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth for political purposes”.The attack was carried out by three Jewish members of the same family who entered the church and set off fireworks during a prayer service causing a huge fire in the ancient church and around it.

Israeli army radio quoted Barakeh saying that Olmert’s statements are “coming out of a head sick with racism and cruel condescension”, Israeli online daily Ynetnews reported.

Olmert told the cabinet meeting in Jerusalem that “there is an attempt to achieve political ground by this incident”.

Also, Olmert claimed that the Islamic leadership is intolerant towards Christianity, and is using this incident as political leverage during the election period.

“Barakeh is attempting to drive the Arab population in Israel into a dirty game”, Olmert claimed.