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Brig.-Gen. Alon Visits Rabbi Elyashiv

Brigadier-General Nitzan Alon met with Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv. They discussed the Jewish visits to Joseph’s Tomb.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 7/20/2011, 5:39 AM / Last Update: 7/20/2011, 7:58 AM

Flash 90

Brigadier-General Nitzan Alon, Commander of the IDF’s Judea and Samaria Division, met with leading Torah giant Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv in his Jerusalem home on Tuesday evening.

The purpose of the visit was likely an attempt to try and convince Rabbi Elyashiv to call on worshipers who enter Joseph’s Tomb without permission not to do so.

However, while Rabbi Elyashiv reportedly admitted that unauthorized entry into the site is “life endangering,” he refused to directly ask worshippers not to enter the area without coordination with security forces.

Jewish visits to Joseph’s Tomb have been a topic of discussion in the last few months, following a few incidents in which worshippers entered the site without having previously coordinated their visit with Israeli security forces.

Joseph’s Tomb is a Jewish holy site that was supposed to be under Israeli control and open to worshippers as stated in previous agreements. However, the government has surrendered the area to Palestinian Authority control, and local Arabs have desecrated it several times. At present, Jewish worshipers are allowed to enter once a month – under heavy IDF guard.

The meeting between Alon and Rabbi Elyashiv came on the heels of recent growing tension between different groups of Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria and Alon. The tension is rooted in statements recently made by Alon which seem to criticize the residents.

Last month Alon distributed a letter to commanders in his division in which he asked them to investigate soldiers who are residents of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. The reason for the request was a concern that these soldiers may leak information regarding future evacuation of outpost communities.

The angry responses to the letter included a protest in front of Nitzan’s home, and, in a separate incident, an attack on his car.

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz has condemned the attacks against Alon, saying he is “an officer with many rights who has devoted and dedicated his life to Israel’s security and its citizens and will continue to do so in the future. I’m against any and all accusations and harassment directed at him.”