Daily Israel Report

Horrified Worshippers Found Joseph’s Tomb Defaced Again

Worshippers who entered Joseph’s Tomb were shocked to see the site desecrated by Arab vandals. PA policemen's footprints were found on gravestones.
By Avraham Zuroff
First Publish: 4/23/2009, 12:04 PM

Israel News Photo: (Shomron Regional Council)

Hundreds of worshippers who entered Joseph’s Tomb on Wednesday night were shocked to see the holy site desecrated, apparently by Arab residents of Shechem. More than 500 Jewish worshippers who had coordinated with the IDF for entry were granted special permission to visit the tomb of the Biblical Joseph in Shechem, in honor of the new month of Iyar and Independence Day.

Jewish worshippers of all stripes came to Joseph's Tomb
Shomron Regional Council

Worshippers were especially appalled that the freshly painted graffiti of swastikas and other anti-Jewish sentiments that defaced the grave appeared merely a day after Holocaust Memorial Day. Additional vandalism included a picture of a sword stabbing a Star of David with drops of blood dripping from it, and a boot stamping it.

Star of David Booted by Vandals
Shomron Regional Council

The desecration came after a massive restoration was completed by the Shechem Echad organization and the IDF in late December, during the festival of Chanukah. It was the first time Jewish workers had repaired the tomb that was torched by an Arab mob several years ago, at the beginning of the second intifada, also known as the Oslo War.

The actual grave marker was desecrated as well. Worshippers found footprints from military boots worn by Palestinian Authority police officers imprinted on the grave. In addition, two parts of the grave stone were cracked by hammers.

Worshipper at Desecrated Gravestone
Shomron Regional Council

Shomron Regional Council head Gershon Masika, who was one of the first to enter the site, found it difficult to conceal his shock from the appalling sight. “Only barbarians could be capable of doing such terrible things. People who are capable of desecrating such a holy place in such a pathological manner are unfit to be called humans. The terrorists of the Palestinian Police have proven that they lost any form of humanity a long time ago. Woe to the nation that allows the unhindered and repeated desecration of one of its holiest spots which serves as a symbol,” Masika said.

“The State of Israel must return to Joseph’s Tomb, that even the ominous Oslo Accords are supposed to allow. The State of Israel must restore its defiled honor to itself, and retake and [reopen] the yeshiva in Joseph’s Tomb,” Masika added, referring to the center of Jewish study that the tomb once housed.

The Shechem Echad organization, involved with the restoration of Samaria holy sites and the arrangements for Jewish worshippers to enter the tomb, expressed shocked disappointment. “It is outrageous that so many times when we enter Joseph’s Tomb and additional gravesites of Sages in Samaria, we see that they are desecrated time after time. This is an unacceptable situation to reconcile with, and the situation must be rectified.”

Knesset Member Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) stated in wake of the desecration of Joseph’s Tomb that Jewish sovereignty must be implemented by returning to Shechem, presently under the control of the PA. Ben-Ari has called on Defense Minister Ehud Barak to restore the Yeshiva of Joseph’s Tomb to its original location. “This will be an appropriate reaction to the barbarians who desecrate graves,” Ben-Ari said.

Knesset Member Danny Danon (Likud) stated in response to the desecration, “The Palestinians’ barbaric conduct of desecrating holy places has proven once again that whoever becomes mixed up for a moment should know that there is no one with whom to speak.”