Praying at Joseph's Tomb
Praying at Joseph's Tomb Roi Hadi

Thousands of Jews arrived at Joseph's Tomb on Sunday night for a mass prayer session before Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).

Sunday night also marked the day when the IDF abandoned Joseph's Tomb 18 years ago after a Druze Border Police officer was brutally murdered by violent local Arabs.

Accompanying the group was Samaria Regional Council Head Yossi Dagan and Knesset House Committee Chairman Miki Zohar (Likud). Dagan said a prayer in memory of the fallen Druze officer, Madhat Yusuf.

"Yosef (Joseph) was sold as a slave," Zohar said. "Unfortunately, due to the new situation which was created, Yosef was sold as a slave [again]. His grave is not under our control. It is not in our hands. This is something which we must change as quickly as possible, because we must not compromise on the basics of our nation and our history - and these include Yosef's Tomb."

"I ask Yosef the Righteous to be an advocate for all of Israel. May G-d protect our entire nation against all those who rise up against us, and may this nation continue to do and succeed."

Dagan added, "We came here today, the eve of the eighth of [the Hebrew month of] Tishrei. This is a symbolic date and a difficult date. Today, 18 years ago, we received the embarrassing order to leave Yosef's Tomb, and this holy place was abandoned while the Palestinian Authority's (PA) people, terrorists in uniform, burned this holy place. This is one of three places which the nations of the world cannot say we stole."

"We came here today with a clear message. Yosef is still alive. We will return to this place. The Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva, which was active here, will return to this place and an Israeli flag will fly over this holy place."

Dagan also thanked the staff responsible for managing Samaria's holy sites, as well as the IDF soldiers and commanders who accompany Jews who wish to visit Joseph's Tomb each month.