2,000 at Joseph's Tomb

Two bereaved families join rabbis, soldiers, religious and secular Jews for Rosh Hodesh prayer.

Gil Ronen , | updated: 10:07 AM

Dr. Mandel says Kaddish.
Dr. Mandel says Kaddish.
Samaria residents

About 2,000 people attended a nighttime prayer session at the Tomb of Joseph in Shechem Monday night. The prayers were held to mark Rosh Hodesh - the first day of the new month of Nisan - and was organized by the Samaria local authority and the "One Shechem" group.

The Tomb of Joseph was ransacked, burned and defiled by the Palestinian Authority in the year 2000, when a savage terror war against Israel was unleashed by PLO head Yasser Arafat, whom Israeli and American governments had seen as a man of peace. The Tomb was rebuilt and restored by the Samaria local authority and the "One Shechem" group, with the cooperation of the IDF.
 
Among the people praying at the site Monday night were two bereaved families: the Biton family, whose son, soldier First Sergeant Uri Biton, was killed in Lebanon, and the Mandel family, whose son, Lt. Daniel Mandel , was killed in Shechem eight years ago. Both Biton and Mandel served in the elite Nahal Reconnaissance Unit (Sayeret Nahal).
 
Knesset Member Uri Ariel (National Union) recalled the names of other soldiers killed in the Shechem area and said, "It is through the merit of IDF soldiers, especially the fallen soldiers of the IDF, that we merit to be in the land of Israel, including this important place."
 
In an emotional ceremony, Dr. David Mandel, Daniel's father, said Kaddish over his son and the Rabbi of IDF Central Command, Rav Yoav Oknin, read Psalms.
 
Samaria local authority head Gershon Mesika said: "I hope that the even here will be another step toward the return of full [Israeli] sovereignty over the Tomb of Joseph, a thing which is anchored even in the accursed Oslo accords."
 
"No nation in the world would allow a place that is so sacred, symbolic and deep-rooted in its heritage to be demeaned as the Tomb of Joseph is."
 
The Samaria authority and One Shechem thanked the Samaria Brigade under Col. Nimrod Aloni and Regional Defense officer Maki Siboni for providing security.


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