President Reuven Rivlin called on the Palestinian Authority on Monday night to protect Joseph’s Tomb, in Nablus, which was vandalized.
The electrical wires were cut and the lights were smashed.
Worshipers discovered the vandalism when they arrived at the tomb late Sunday night to mark the sixth night of Hanukka by lighting a large oil hanukkia on top of the tomb.
The IDF allows Jewish worshipers to visit the tomb once a month in the middle of the night, after it clears a safe passage through the Palestinian city to the small stone structure, located near the site of the biblical city of Shechem.
“We expect and we demand that the Palestinian Authority will protect sites that are holy to the Jewish people that it is responsible for,” Rivlin said in a notice he posted on his Facebook page.
“Joseph’s Tomb renews Jewish tradition,” he added.
Worshipers first discovered the vandalism when they arrived at the tomb late Sunday night.
“It was painful to see [the vandalism], particularly on Hanukka,” said the acting head of the Samaria Regional Council, Yossi Dagan.
Still, he said, representatives of the settlement movement and the IDF were able to light six oil-filled metal tin cans with a torch.
“Although we entered today like thieves in the night, we are certain that in the future we will be able to come here all the time with an Israeli flag,” Dagan said.
He was hopeful, he said, that the IDF as well as the settlement enterprise would be stronger so that more Jewish communities could be built in Judea and Samaria.
Among the 1,500 worshipers were IDF brigade commanders from the Samaria and Ephraim regions, as well as soldiers who fought in Gaza last summer. The family of Ben-Yosef Livnat was also present. Palestinian security forces fatally shot Ben-Yosef three years ago after he visited the tomb illegally before dawn. He was the nephew of Likud Minister Limor Livnat.
The worshipers traveled in and out of Nablus safely, but a number of minor clashes broke out in the city between Palestinians and the IDF during the visit.