A special service was held on Purim morning Thursday at the tomb of Yehoshua Ben Nun (Joshua) in Kifl Hares in Samaria.
The morning prayer service and traditional second reading of the Book of Esther for Purim, was led by Samaria Regional Community Council head Gershon Mesika and Rabbi Uriel Genzel.
Of special note was the participation of the Ephraim Brigade, commanded by Col. Ron Kahane, who were lovingly welcomed by the residents of Judea and Samaria who attended.
Kahane and his men were toasted and given the traditional "lechaim" blessing – to life!
Earlier, when the first worshipers arrived at the tomb, they were shocked to discover local Arabs had desecrated the compound. The inner walls of the holy structure were painted with a large swastika and nationalist PA graffiti was spray-painted in Arabic.
PA security forces have allowed the tomb to be desecrated multiple times since Israel handed Kifl Hares over to them, but recently claimed they would prevent further desecration of tombs in their areas.
The worshipers brought white paint and tried to execute minor repairs to the tomb before the service..
Col. Kahane said he was confident that his soldiers will be inspired by hearing the Megillah in Yehoshua Ben Nun's tomb, alongside their fellow citizens, to exert themselves in their missions, and that the settlements will continue to grow.
Mesika said, "It was very exciting to read the Book of Esther, the Book of valor of Israel, at the grave of the great leader who brought us into the land – Yehoshua Ben Nun."
Yehoshua took over the leadership of the Israelites after Moses' death, conquering Canaan and dividing it among the tribes.
Mesika also drew a parallel between the tomb desecration and the Book of Esther "On a day where we read about the downfall of the genocidal Haman so many years ago, we are again reminded of those people who want to follow in his footsteps today."
Mesika explained, "A direct line connects the Persian Haman today - Ahmadinejad, who threatens the destruction of Jewish people - and the PA terrorists who choose to mark their actions with the swastika, a symbol of barbarism that desecrates the graves of our holy fathers."
"In the face of this darkness we still have light, the salvation of Purim, and the joy of building Israel," he said. "This Purim, especially in the face of the swastika Yehoshua Ben Nun's tomb, we draw immortal strength and joy from him, who told us 'go up and inherit the land,' for we have done so."