Israelis return to Joseph's Tomb

A month after Palestinian vandals set fire to Joseph's Tomb, Israelis were back, repairing and repainting the structure.

Moshe Cohen ,

The scene at the Tomb of Joseph Wednesday night
The scene at the Tomb of Joseph Wednesday night
Samaria Regional Council

A month after Palestinian vandals set fire to Joseph's Tomv, Israelis were back, repairing and repainting parts of the structure that had been burned and trashed.

Four buses arrived in Shechem late Wednesday night, filled with volunteers who had come to help revamp the structure, as well as with worshippers who sought to pray at the site.

Since the Palestinians attempted to destroy this building in October, there has been a big increase in requests by Israelis to visit,” Yossi Dagan, head of Samaria Regional Council said. “Now would be the appropriate time for the government to impose Israeli sovereignty on this site.”

In the early morning hours of October 16, dozens of Arabs descended on Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem and tried to set it on fire.

IDF soldiers who arrived at the scene surrounded the compound and used riot dispersal means to chase away the Palestinians, who began throwing rocks and firebombs at the soldiers, but not before a large part of the structure was damaged by fire.

With the event Wednesday night, the tradition that has developed in the past several years, whereby Israelis visit the site on the night of Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of the Jewish month, was kept intact, said Dagan. “The destruction wrought by the Arabs will not prevent us from praying at and visiting our holy site,” said Dagan.

The workers and worshippers were protected by a group of Givati soldiers, who positioned themselves between the compound and the Arab residential areas.

“I have mixed feelings about coming here,” said Dagan. “On one hand, I am happy we are returning to the site, and we at the Council, along with the IDF, are fulfilling our obligation to this holy site, where Israelis of all backgrounds – religious and secular – seek to visit. But on the other hand it is sad to see just how much destruction the Palestinian barbarians caused. They used special equipment designed specifically to destroy the site. We have a great deal of work ahead of us to restore the structure.”