Josephs Tomb 311.
(photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
Samaria Regional Council head Gershon Mesika on Sunday night boycotted the
monthly midnight trip Jewish worshipers make to Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus, to
protest the lack of adequate busing to the holy site.
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He said he had
asked for entry for 32 buses but received permission for only 20. He added that
he was also not allowed to use a council vehicle to bring officials to the
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Dani Dayan, who heads the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea,
Samaria and the Gaza Strip, similarly opted not to attend.
right-wing politicians are in the midst of a lobby campaign to return the tomb,
located at the site of the biblical city of Shechem, to Israeli control, so that
worshipers can access it on a daily basis.
At present, they can only
travel there from midnight to dawn once a month under IDF escort.
result, worshipers tend to sneak in under cover of darkness to pray at the tomb.
In April, one such worshiper, Ben-Yosef Livnat, was killed by Palestinian
Dayan said he has spoken with the army about improving access to
the tomb, but that to date, they have refused to make any changes in that
“We will continue to work to remove the restrictions and to
restore the tomb to Israeli control,” he said.
Late Sunday night and
early Monday morning there were seven arrests as Jews headed to the tomb under
One minor was arrested at Tapuah junction after getting into
a confrontation with a Palestinian, police said.
Five people were
arrested for trying to sell fake tickets to people seeking to board the buses, a
police spokeswoman said.
And a vehicle containing nine people – a driver
and eight passengers – was stopped after trying to burst through police lines to
reach the tomb. The driver was arrested and the passengers were released, the
She said the visit to the tomb was “orderly” on the
whole and passed off without incident due to the good conduct of the worshipers.