Preparing to Rebuild Joseph's Tomb
Chief Rabbis Shlomo Amar and Yona Metzger issued a joint call Thursday to rebuild Joseph's Tomb (Kever Yosef) in Samaria. The tomb, which contains the remains of the Biblical Joseph, has been seriously damaged by Palestinian Authority vandals.
The site is under PA control, and for most of the year is closed to Jewish worshippers. On select occasions Jews are allowed in to briefly say prayers under IDF guard. The number of worshippers is limited, and would-be visitors often wait months for their turn to pray at the holy site.
The tomb has been vandalized several times and periodically also set on fire since 2000, when Israel turned control of the city of Shechem over to the PA. In 2009 visitors arrived at the site to discover smashed headstones and swastikas painted on the walls.
In July 2010 Israeli workers were allowed to perform minor repair work at the site and paint the building, but signs of damage remain.
While workers have not yet been authorized to carry out major repairs, the Shomron (Samaria) Liaison Office is preparing for the day when renovations at the site will be approved. The office is working with the architectural department of the Ariel University Center, located in Samaria, to create plans to rebuild the site “in high standard and beauty that will be fitting for a sage of such importance to the Jewish People.”