IDF forces, Border Police, and Civil Administration secured entry of more than 1,000 worshipers to the Tomb of Joseph in the PA-controlled city of Shechem last night. Israel retains control of the tomb in accordance with the 1993 Oslo Agreements.
The Shomron Regional Council reported that worshipers celebrated the Passover holiday with singing and dancing. They also conducted a memorial service for Ben Yosef Livnat, who was murdered by PA police seven years ago when he entered with his friends to pray.
Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan said, "It's exciting to see the masses arrive each time from Israel and outside of it to dance. Religious, secular, and haredi soldiers are moved to tears in this holy place, everyone who comes to Joseph's Tomb feels the holiness in the air and it has an effect. The joy is greater in the intermediate days of Passover, when tens of thousands of visitors to Samaria arrive every day, and also at night to Joseph's Tomb. Going in is always mixed with pain that we have to go in at night, and Yeshivat Od Yosef Chai is inactive, but we believe we'll return. Joseph unites all the people of Israel and that's what's happening here. We'll strengthen in building the country."
Dagan thanked OC Central Commander Maj. Gen. (res.) Nadav Padan, the Samaria Brigade Commander, the Regional Defense Commander, and the Director of the Holy Places for bringing the worshipers to the site.
The IDF said that during the entry into Shechem an explosive device was thrown. There were no casualties and no damage was caused. Additionally, while guarding the entrance to the tomb, observers spotted suspicious activity.
IDF forces who quickly arrived to the spot arrested three suspects and found weapons, including cartridges, bullets, and a knife on the roof of one of the houses.
During the withdrawal from the city, forces used riot control measures to disperse a violent disturbance. The IDF reported two Arabs injured.