Daily Israel Report

Israel's History in Pictures: Joseph's Tomb - Then and Now

What a difference a century makes!
By Lenny Ben-David
First Publish: 2/24/2014, 11:35 AM

Joseph's Tomb
Joseph's Tomb
INN: Chatham

The picture on the main page and at the right is a hand-colored photographic slide of Joseph's Tomb, dated between 1880-1900. (Chatham University).

The Tomb of Joseph in the valley between Mt. Gerizim and Mt. Ebal outside of Shechem (Nablus) 

According to the Book of Joshua (24:32), “The bones of Joseph which the Children of Israel brought up from Egypt were buried in Shechem [Nablus] in the portion of the field that had been purchased by Jacob.” 

The picture below was taken from Mt. Ebal, circa 1900.  (Keystone-Mast Collection, California Museum of Photography at UCR ARTS block, University of California, Riverside)

And today:

Joseph's Tomb today is in the middle of the city of Nablus, controlled by the Palestinian Authority. Jews' access to the shrine is severely limited, although it stayed under Israeli control, and the tomb has been attacked and vandalized on several occasions. A Druze IDF soldier Madhat Yusef,was killed in 2000 on one of those occasions and Minister Limor Livnat (Likud)'s 25 year-old nephew Ben-Yosef LIvnat was murdered in 2011 as he attempted to pray at the site. (Google Earth)


The very first posting in Israel Daily Picture in June 2011 featured century-old pictures of Joseph's Tomb that we found in the Library of Congress archives. Virtually every 19th and early 20th century collection we've viewed contains pictures of the tomb.  The online Keystone-Mast collection at the University of California - Riverside archives adds many more photos of Joseph's Tomb for the public's view.

Joseph's Tomb and Mt. Gerizim behind it. (Keystone-Mast Collection, California Museum of Photography at UCR ARTSblock, University of California, Riverside, circa 1900) 

 

Joseph's Tomb (circa 1900) Keystone-Mast Collection, California Museum of Photography at UCR ARTSblock, University of California, Riverside) 

 

Joseph's Tomb, alone in the valley. Keystone-Mast Collection, California Museum of Photography  at UCR ARTSblock, University of California, Riverside) 

 

Turkish guard inside the tomb. The Library of Congress archives dates this picture as 1900. Keystone-Mast Collection, California Museum of Photography 
at UCR ARTSblock, University of California, Riverside)