Daily Israel Report

Police Assaulted at Rachel's Tomb

Two officers are assaulted by a female worshiper, as they try to keep order at the site.
By Adam Ross
First Publish: 10/15/2013, 5:53 PM

Women at the Tomb of Rachel
Women at the Tomb of Rachel
Flash 90

Two police officers were attacked Tuesday during the annual pilgrimage to the grave of the Biblical Matriarch Rachel.(Kever Rachel)

Rachel, who features in the book of Genesis (Bereishit), was married to Jacob and mother to two of his sons, Joseph and Benjamin.

Each year, on the anniversary of her death, the 11th day in the Hebrew month of Cheshvan, tens of thousands of worshipers visit the site where tradition says she is buried near to Bethlehem.

The incident took place in the women's area of the site when police were trying to ensure the safety of the thousands who had flocked to pray there.

Due to the increasing crowds and a desire to allow others to reach the grave, Officer Ehud Peri asked women standing close to the area to make way for others.

Most women did as they were asked without incident, but one refused to respond to the instructions given by police to leave the site. The woman not only refused, but attacked the officer, punching him in the face and also causing a cut to his hand.

Police and stewards attempted to remove the woman as she continued to punch officers, lightly injuring officer Lizi Ben-Harush in the process.

The two officers received medical attention at the scene from medics with the Magen David Adom emergency ambulance service. The 48 year old woman was arrested and taken for investigation suspected of attacking the two officers and violating public order at the site.

Police have emphasized that their presence at Kever Rachel was intended to protect the public's safety, and that they expected pilgrims to the site to behave responsibly and with respect.