More than 2,000 people took part in an emotional all-night Hanukkah prayer session at the Tomb of Joseph (Kever Yosef) in the ancient Biblical city of Shechem on Monday night and Tuesday morning.
The prayers were organized by the Samaria Regional Council and the Shechem Ehad (One Shechem) organization, with security provided by the IDF's Samaria Brigade.
Taking part in the special Hanukkah prayer were Judea and Samaria Division Commander Brigadier-General Tamir Yadai, Samaria Regional Council Head Gershon Mesika and Acting Head Yossi Dagan, and Samaria Brigade Commander Col. Yoav Yarom.
The night was described as a very emotional one, in which civilians and soldiers took turns praying next to the tombstone, many of them shedding tears. Participants were young and old, religious, hareidi and secular.
Many of the participants were residents of central and northern Israel for whom this was their first visit to Samaria, who came to the Tomb as part of a tour project that is called “Shomron, Nice to Meet You.” Numerous other visitors had come from abroad to pray at the Tomb of Joseph the Righteous.
Dagan lit the 6th Hanukkah candle at the Tomb Hall and a hanukkiah of torches was lit in the courtyard by Col. Yarom.
"It warms the heart and soul to light the Hanukkah candles of the Samaria residents, the IDF and the entire nation of Israel, specifically at the Tomb of Joseph,” said Mesika. “We are filled with strength and light from the Hanukkah candles at this holy place.”