The Head of the IDF's Central Command, Major General Avi Mizrachi, met on Sunday with the head of Shuvu Banim Yeshiva, Rav Eliezer Berland.
The general asked the rabbi to tell his hassidim [students and followers – Ed.] to stop trying to enter Joseph's Tomb in Shechem without IDF permission, as is their wont.
The meeting was coordinated in the aftermath of the murder of one of the hassidim, Ben Yosef Livnat, by a Palestinian Authority policeman-turned –terrorist. The PA policeman shot and killed Livnat after he and several others had tried to enter the Tomb for prayer, and were turned back.
Unauthorized entrances into the Tomb are "a potentially deadly matter," Mizrachi said.
In response, the rabbi asked the general to add more authorized entrances into the Tomb every month, and to increase the number of people allowed into the Tomb on every such occasion.
Less than a fortnight ago, Brigadier-General Nitzan Alon, Commander of the IDF’s Judea and Samaria Division, met with leading Torah giant Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv in his Jerusalem home. In that meeting, too, the IDF general asked the rabbi to hold back visitors to Joseph's Tomb.
Rav Elyashiv reportedly admitted that unauthorized entry into the site is dangerous, but refused to directly ask worshippers not to enter the area without coordination with security forces.
According to the Oslo Accords, the Tomb of Joseph is supposed to be under Israeli control, with free access to worshippers.