IDF protects 1000 Jews praying at Joseph’s Tomb, rescues 3 Israelis

Israeli army units in the Palestinian Authority-controlled city of Shechem (Nablus) guarded a massive prayer group at a Jewish holy site, and were separately called upon to save three Israelis whose car had been stolen and set on fire.

By: World Israel News Staff

Early Tuesday morning, IDF forces assisted around 1,000 Israelis seeking to pray in the town of Shechem, which is home to the Tomb of Joseph, one of the most important figures in the Bible. While the site has remained a major destination for Jewish pilgrimage, it has become increasingly dangerous for Jews to visit Shechem, now controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA) which refers to the town as Nablus.

In addition to the large group of worshipers at Joseph’s Tomb on Tuesday morning, three other Israelis had independently entered the town without authorization from the IDF, which is prohibited. After the three had exited their car, the vehicle was stolen and apparently set ablaze by local Arabs. The IDF was then called on to locate and rescue the Israelis.

Since control of Shechem was transferred to the PA during the 1990s as a result of the Oslo accords, Arabs have committed a number of violent attacks on Jews visiting the area to pray at Joseph’s Tomb.

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In 2011, Ben-Yosef Livnat was murdered during a visit to his namesake’s grave site, with five others wounded, during an incident in which PA security forces fired on the Jewish visitors. Livnat’s father had studied in a yeshiva in Shechem called Od Yosef Chai, which was shuttered after the Palestinians took over the area.

In 2015, Palestinian rioters set fire to the holy site itself, preventing Jewish or Christian visitors from visiting until the site could be restored.