Jews defy Islamists, enter Joseph's Tomb en masse

Muslim rioters hurl rocks and firebombs - but could stop 20 busloads of Jewish worshipers from visiting holy site in Shechem.

Shlomo Piotrokovski ,

Prayers at Joseph's Tomb in Shechem
Prayers at Joseph's Tomb in Shechem
Flash 90

Muslim rioters attacked a group of dozens of Jewish worshipers at the tomb of the Biblical Jewish patriarch Joseph in Shechem, during a pilgrimage to the site.

Israeli Border Police forces and IDF Kfir Brigade soldiers accompanied 20 busloads of Jewish worshipers to the holy site last night. Under the Oslo Accords and other agreements with the PA Israeli Jews should be granted free access to all Jewish religious sites under PA control; in practice however, they are only able to do so under heavy armed guard as PA security forces make no effort to stop local Arab Muslims from attacking them.

During last night's pilgrimage, Arab rioters hurled rocks and firebombs at the Israeli convoy, and at worshipers as the entered the tomb. Security forces however dispersed the rioters, and no Israelis were injured.

Speaking to Arutz Sheva at the site, acting Samaria Regional Council head Davidi Ben-Tzion noted that the approaching Hebrew month of Nisan is said to be a "month of redemption."

"'In Nisan we were redeemed [from Egypt - ed.] and in Nisan we will be redeemed in the future,'" he said, quoting the Talmud.

"The nation of Israel has, unfortunately, been through many periods in which 'they came upon us to destroy us'," he continued, citing the passage from the Passover haggadah. "This visit to Joseph's Tomb during the current period as well represents the spirit of the nation of Israel, which is not broken and stands by its right to pray at its holy places even as our enemies attempt to threaten us."

In other security developments last night, IDF and counterterrorism police forces completed a comprehensive two-day mission in the Arab village of El-Khader near Bethlehem, to crack down on Arab terrorists from the village who had been attacking Israeli traffic along Route 60 south of Jerusalem.

During the operation two terror suspects were arrested in connection to the recent spate of attacks.

Further north, in the PA city of Jenin in Samaria, Maglan special forces seized a stash of illegal makeshift guns.