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

Last night, a pilgrimage of those coming to pray at Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem took place under the supervision of security forces.

IDF forces, along with Border Police, Israel Police, and the Civil Administration secured the entry of some 1,200 Jewish pilgrims.

As the pilgrims were entering the premises, IDF forces arrested 3 suspects, residents of Shechem, in whose possession were found a pipe bomb, 2 Molotov cocktails, and a knife.

Nobody was wounded and no damage caused. The suspects were taken to be dealt with further by security forces.

Under the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority is supposed to guarantee Jewish pilgrims free access to Jewish holy sites under their control, but in practice it has never attempted to do so. Instead, Muslim rioters and terrorists are granted free rein to attempt to attack Jewish visitors. As such, Jews wishing to pray at such sites - many of which are now under Arab control - can only do so periodically, with an army escort, and on armored buses.

Jewish visits to Joseph's Tomb take place once every few weeks, and are facilitated by the IDF, Border Police, Civil Administration and Israel Police.

The IDF has emphasized the crucial importance of close coordination between pilgrimage organizers and security forces, and has warned against attempts by worshipers to enter the area alone.

In one particularly tragic incident, in 2011 a group of Breslov Hassidim who attempted to visit the tomb without coordinating with the IDF were fired upon by Palestinian Authority policeman. Israeli citizen Ben Yoseph Livnat was murdered and several others were injured in that incident.