Palestinian vandals have defaced Joseph’s Tomb in yet another instance of Palestinians attacking Jewish holy sites. The Palestinian hooligans destroyed furniture, desecrated holy Jewish books, sprayed anti-semitic graffiti throughout the tomb’s grounds. There was also evidence that they had attempted to destroy Joseph’s Tomb by fire.
According to Samaria Council Chairman Gershon Mesika, “Only barbarians are capable of doing terrible things like this, destroying a holy place. The State of Israel must reclaim the Tomb of Yosef, as described in the Oslo Accords. We must return with strength and faith and reestablish our presence, and that yeshiva, at the Tomb.” Deputy Council Director Yossi Dagan furthermore declared, “The Palestinian terrorist police are responsible for the site when IDF soldiers are not present. They have proven a long time ago that they have lost all semblance of humanity. These are the terrorists in uniforms who murdered Yosef Ben Livnat h”yd, and now they dump their waste and try to burn down the Tomb.”
Unfortunately, this was not the first time that Palestinians have attacked Joseph’s Tomb. In 2011, a nephew of Science and Culture Minister Limor Livnat, Ben-Joseph Livnat, was murdered by Palestinian security forces while visiting Joseph’s Tomb and four other Israelis were wounded. At his funeral, Limor Livnat stated, “He was murdered simply because he was Jewish.” Palestinians then proceeded to set Joseph’s Tomb on fire and they also attacked the funeral procession of Ben Joseph Livnat with rocks.
Furthermore, in 2008, 16 burning tires were thrown at Joseph’s Tomb and in other instances Joseph’s Tomb has been vandalized with swastikas and other anti-semitic graffiti. In 2000, the Palestinian Authority stormed Joseph’s Tomb, killed an IDF soldier, demolished Joseph’s Tomb, and desecrated Jewish holy books at the Jewish holy site. A Palestinian flag was raised over the Jewish holy site. Afterwards, the Palestinians attempted to transform Joseph’s Tomb into a mosque. Indeed, Palestinians to date claim that Joseph was a Muslim, yet this supposed claim holds no validity; otherwise, the Palestinians would treat Joseph’s Tomb more respectfully than they historically have.
According to the Book of Joshua, 24:32, “The bones of Joseph which the children of Israel brought up from Egypt were buried in Shechem in the portion of the field that had been purchased by Jacob.” The Midrash, as well as the Christian historian Eusebius, Arab geographers, medieval Jewish travelers, Samaritan historians and British cartographers all agree on the location of Joseph’s Tomb. According to the late Dr. Zvi Ilan, one of Israel’s foremost archaeologists, Joseph’s Tomb is “one of the tombs whose location is known with the utmost degree of certainty and is based on continuous documentation since Biblical times.”
Despite these facts, Israel evacuated Joseph’s Tomb in 2000 following Palestinian gunfire. Ever since then, it has been very difficult for Jews to pray at Joseph’s Tomb. There is presently a quota where 1,200 Jews are able to visit Joseph’s Tomb during one night per month. Despite the location’s richness in Jewish history, more Jews aren’t allowed to pray at the Jewish holy site.
By Rachel Avraham