Minister of Culture and Sport Miki Zohar (Likud) and Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu (Otzma Yehudit) visited Joseph's Tomb in Shechem (Nablus) overnight Wednesday.
Thousands of worshipers arrived at the site in the context of the Samaria Regional Council's regular visits accompanied by the IDF. Among the visitors were MK Tzvi Sukkot and Hadassah International chairman and Medal of Valor recipient Lt. Col. (Res.) Moshe Levi.
Minister Zohar called for unity. "I decided to visit the tomb of Joseph the Righteous as we can all see what's happening in the nation of Israel. The nation is split, and Joseph was the one who unified the tribes of Israel. He chose to forgive everything his brothers did to him and saw peace in the nation of Israel as the most important thing.
"Ultimately, unity among the people of Israel is our strength as a nation, enabling us to defeat the many enemies that the nation of Israel unfortunately has," he added. "At this opportunity, I call on all of Israel to unite with mutual responsibility, as we have no other land."
Zohar also called for the holy site to be fully reopened to the public. "It's tragic that in order to come here, we need such a large military contingent to protect us even though the site belongs to the Jewish People. This is absurd, and we need to correct this."
Minister Amichai Eliyahu led the prayer for IDF soldiers at the site and stated: "It is a great privilege to pray at the tomb of Joseph the Righteous, who was the first Jewish minister in history. Joseph's Tomb is one of the most important Jewish heritage sites, and coming here connects us with our nation's deep roots. We pray that the day will come when the Israeli flag will again fly here with total security for worshipers."
Samaria Regional Council chairman Yossi Dagan thanked the volunteers from the Samaria Regional Council's Joseph's Tomb Authority, the IDF soldiers, and the district commander Col. Shimon Sisu for their assistance in visiting Joseph's tomb.
Dagan stated: "We stand here at Joseph's Tomb and derive strength from the Jewish nation's roots. Despite everything, Joseph chose unity with his brothers, and we need to learn from him. There are ideological arguments, but no man may lift a hand against his brother. There is a minority in the country trying to divide the nation because of an ideological argument, but we can learn from Joseph who, despite all of the hardships, connected with his brothers."
Dagan also demanded a full return to Joseph's Tomb: "When we come to Joseph's Tomb at night, on the one hand, the heart swells as we have the privilege to be here, but on the other hand, the heart shrivels up from the great pain that we need to come here like thieves in the night to one of the holiest places for the Jewish People. The Jewish People expects the government to enable the defense establishment to return our hold on Joseph's Tomb. Only the nation of Israel can protect this holy site."