Video: Twelve MKs in Daytime Visit at Tomb of Joseph
Initial reports say Knesset Members conducted first daytime visit of holy site since 2000 under heavy security with PA cooperation.
By Gil Ronen and Yoni Kempinski
First Publish: 6/14/2011, 11:47 AM / Last Update: 6/14/2011, 11:45 AM
Twelve Knesset Members from the Land of Israel Lobby conducted the first daytime visit to the Tomb of Joseph since 2000 Tuesday morning, under heavy security.
In the course of the visit, MKs Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) and Aryeh Eldad (National Union), who head the Lobby, called on the government to return the Tomb of Joseph and the road leading to it to full Israeli control, as the accords with the PA mandate.
The visit was originally planned for the 30-day memorial of the murder of Ben-Yosef Livnat, who was gunned down by a Palestinian Authority policeman/terrorist. However, threats of Arab violence led to its cancellation.
The Defense Ministry and IDF Central Command informed the MKs of the cancellation after midnight on the day of the planned tour, May 24.
The Samaria local authority head Gershon Mesika reportedly took part in the visit, as did Samaria Chief Rabbi Elyakim Levanon. The visit was kept secret until it was already underway. The Samaria authority was not sure until the last moment whether it would take part in the visit, because of the cooperation between the IDF and the PA police in arranging its security. A member of that same police force murdered Livnat.