‘We'll continue to enter Joseph’s Tomb with vigor'

Following shooting of Ben Yosef Livnat, head of Breslav group leading clandestine visits says 400 worshipers go to Nablus site monthly.

By JONAH MANDEL
April 27, 2011 01:53
2 minute read.
Ben Yosef Livnat, killed in Nablus area shooting

Ben Yosef Livnat 311. (photo credit: Family Courtesy)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

The head of the group behind the clandestine forays into Nablus to access Joseph’s Tomb stressed on Tuesday that such nocturnal expeditions would continue “with greater vigor and might,” just two days after Ben-Yosef Livnat was killed at the site by PA policemen.

Benny Machlev, director-general of the Yesod Olam Society, explained why some – primarily Breslav Hassidim like himself – put themselves at risk to be physically present, even if for short periods of time, at sites believed to be the burial sites of important Jewish figures.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


RELATED:
Background: Joseph's Tomb remains source of conflict
Settler leaders: Joseph’s Tomb attack cannot ‘pass silently

“Every rabbi will tell you that the sanctity and dignity of the grave site of a righteous person must be safeguarded, and we must strengthen our control of it,” he said.

“Of course,” Machlev continued, “the rabbis do not want people to do this in a way that endangers lives.

“Entering these sites is a personal goal – so that each and every person might be able to freely enter these holy sites.”

Since 2007, the IDF permits and secures a monthly delegation, usually numbering between 700 to 900 men and women, coinciding with Rosh Hodesh – the beginning of the new Jewish month.



But this option does not satisfy everyone.

To Machlev’s estimate, there are approximately 40- 50 clandestine night trips to Joseph’s Tomb every month, reaching some 400 men altogether – “of whom 50 percent are regulars.”

Machlev confirmed the report that the influential Rabbi Eliezer Berland, leader of the Jerusalem-based Shuvu Banim Breslav community which Livnat was part of, told his hassidim not to visit Joseph’s Tomb in the days between Pessah and Shavuot (the days of sefirat ha’omer), since this period is one of disasters for Jews. Normally, Berland’s hassidim make a special point of visiting Joseph’s Tomb.

Recently appointed Chief Rabbi of Samaria Elyakim Levanon on Tuesday called on rabbis not to send their students and disciples to Joseph’s Tomb without coordinating with the IDF.

“Rabbis who tell their students to go there are not familiar with the situation in Nablus and endanger their students’ lives,” he said on Radio Kol Hai.

The dangers and loss of a member of their community notwithstanding, “We will continue to enter with greater vigor and might,” Machlev said, without saying when and if their methods of entry will change.

“There is always a feeling of danger,” he said. “This is not a night out in Tel Aviv; we are dealing with a city of murderers,” he said of Nablus.

As for the composition of those who go to the tomb against the army’s orders, “It’s all kinds of people, not just Breslav Hassidim,” Machlev said. “You have settlers, haredim – basically anyone who is worried about the site.”

Of course, it is the Breslav movement that is the dominant force in Joseph’s Tomb and other similar sites in Israel and elsewhere, Machlev said, “since it is the Breslav Hassidim who have sanctified safeguarding our forefathers’ graves.”

Related Content

Joan Rivers
August 28, 2014
Joan Rivers rushed to hospital following throat surgery

By JPOST.COM STAFF