Twelve hundred people entered Joseph's Tomb in the Palestinian Authority-assigned city of Shechem for prayers before dawn on Friday. The prayer session, organized by the Shechem Echad (One Shechem) organization and the Samaria (Shomron) Regional Council, was coordinated with the Israel Defense Forces and other security agencies.
The prayers marked the culmination of a tour of Samaria by the rebbe of the Lublin hasidic sect. Council Chairman Gershon Mesika said it was moving to see so many people at the sight an expressed hope that all of Israel would be sanctified by Joseph. He also looked forward to the time when Jews can come to the site freely. The visits are generally limited to once a month.