Dozens of Israeli Jews entered the Arab village of Kifl Haris in Samaria Thursday morning, marking the Purim festival with a special Megillah reading at the tomb of the biblical leader Yehoshua Bin-Nun (Joshua), near the scene of this week’s deadly terrorist attack at the entrance to Ariel.
The special pilgrimage was organized by the Samaria Regional Council and the Jewish organization which administers Joseph’s Tomb in the Palestinian Authority-controlled city of Shechem (Nablus), in Samaria.
Samaria Regional Council chief Yossi Dagan was among the several dozen worshippers who took part in the Megillah reading outside of Joshua’s tomb, along with rabbis, army commanders, soldiers stationed in Samaria, and relatives of Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger, one of the victims of this week’s terror attacks in Samaria.
“It is amazing to read the Megillah here next to the grave of the first [Jewish] army chief of staff and the first ‘settler’, who settled and conquered the Land of Israel,” said Dagan.
“The spirit of Mordechai and Purim are here, and we are commanded to continue to be happy [as part of the Purim holiday], despite the difficult times we’re in, even after the terrible terror attack which was at the junction near here. The spirit of Mordechai the Jew will triumph, even now in this generation, over the wicked Haman – which today is Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas], the greatest terrorist of our generation.”
Joshua, who according to the Hebrew Bible led the Israelites following Moses’ death, was buried next to the town of Timnat Heres in Samaria, which today is commonly associated with the village of Kifl Haris.
Divided between direct IDF control and administration by the Palestinian Authority, Kifl Haris is also believed to be the location of the tombs of other biblical Jewish leaders, including Kalev Ben Yefuneh (Caleb) and Joshua’s father, Nun.
Kifl Haris is located near the Israeli town of Ariel, the scene of a deadly terrorist attack this Sunday.