IDF Admits Mistakes in Joseph’s Tomb Incident

IDF probe into May 30 incident at Joseph's Tomb determines: IDF's deployment was a mistake, police officers arrived late.

Contact Editor
Elad Benari, | updated: 09:16

Tomb of Joseph
Tomb of Joseph
Arutz Sheva

The IDF has admitted that it made mistakes in the way it prepared for a massive prayer rally in May, Arutz Sheva’s Hebrew-language news service has learned.

The May 30 rally was attended by an unprecedented number of more than 1,500 Jews. The rally, which took place several weeks after Ben Yosef Livnat was deliberately shot and killed at the tomb site by Palestinian Authority police officers, was approved and supervised by the IDF.

At the conclusion of the rally, fifty Jews had tried to remain in the tomb against IDF orders. They clashed with security forces and attacked Judea and Samaria Commander Brig.-Gen. Nitzan Alon. Security forces had difficulties controlling the activists and order was only restored to the area late at night.

In a secret document obtained by Arutz Sheva and which outlines the results of the IDF’s probe into the incident, Commander Nimrod Aloni of the IDF’s Samaria Brigade admits the deployment of forces to prevent unauthorized entry to Joseph’s Tomb was a mistake. He also says that police forces acted too late and in fact disrupted the soldiers.

“The police deployment in the area was not good,” says the report, adding, “even after police forces arrived late, their activity was not effective and disrupted the IDF forces.”

Aloni also indicates that there is an ideological perception that infiltration to Joseph’s Tomb would force the IDF and the Israeli government to take control of the site.

The report points at two groups as being behind the illegal entries into the complex: The Shuvu Banim yeshiva of Breslov Hasidim, led by Rabbi Eliezer Berland, and the Gar’in Shechem which consists of residents of Judea and Samaria who identify with the national-religious stream.

At the end of the report, the IDF comes to several conclusions, among them that a closer monitoring is required of the selling of tickets to Joseph’s Tomb. The report notes that tickets should be sold on the Internet or by telephone only, and not at the entrance to the site. The report also suggests that the Samaria Regional Council be the body to oversee the organization of visits to the tomb and coordinate the various modes of transportation during these visit, while fully cooperating with army officials.

The report suggests that the total number of people entering the tomb not exceed 300 worshippers at one time, and that the entrance to the tomb should be from midnight until 4:30am. It recommends that violent individuals be documented so that they may be prosecuted in court.