Palestinian rioters vandalised Joseph’s Tomb in the West Bank city of Nablus during clashes with the Israel Defense Forces.
Following the deadly terrorist attack on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv on April 7, Israeli security forces carried out arrest raids in the West Bank. On Saturday night, April 9, during the second night of the raids, Palestinian rioters vandalised Joseph’s Tomb in the city of Nablus amid clashes with the IDF.
The rioters set fire to the site, damaging the gravestone, a chandelier hanging above it, a water tank and an electricity closet, reports The Jerusalem Post. The attack on the Jewish holy site a few days before Passover stoked religious tensions, which were already high due to the concurrent Muslim month of Ramadan.
“We will not accept this kind of an attack on a place that is holy to us, particularly on the eve of Passover,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said. “We will reach the rioters. Of course, we will make sure to rebuild what they destroyed, as we always do.”
“The vandalism of Joseph’s Tomb is a serious event and a grave violation of freedom of worship in one of the holiest places for every Jew. It violates the feelings of the entire Jewish nation, especially when it occurs during the Muslim holy month,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said. He added that “the site will be refurbished and quickly returned to its original condition.”
The tomb is located in Nablus, and was built on the site of the biblical city of Shechem. It remained in IDF’s hands after the 1993 Oslo Accords, but was handed over to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in October 2000, after a gunfight over the site that left 17 Palestinians and Border Police officer killed.
Jewish access to the site has been limited ever since, and occurs only with the help of an IDF escort.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid condemned the destruction of the holy site, claiming that the damage was not only to the tomb itself, but also “to the deeply held feelings of the Jewish people”, confirming that the tomb will be repaired.
Photo credit: The Jerusalem Post – Samaria Regional Council