(JNS.org) About 20 Jewish pilgrims were arrested Sunday when they attempted to visit the Jewish holy site of Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus.
According to Honenu, the legal action group representing the pilgrims, four Jews managed to reach the holy site before being arrested by Palestinian security forces and handed over to the IDF.
Israeli security forces arrested the remainder of the Jewish group on a road leading up to the tomb. All of the pilgrims arrested during the incident were transferred to an Israeli police station in the Samaria community of Ariel for further questioning.
“Early in the morning, IDF received reports of 20 young Jews who entered Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus without first coordinating with the security forces,” the IDF said in a statement. “After being questioned, the suspects will be brought to the Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court for a hearing.”
According to the Book of Joshua, Joseph was buried outside of the city of Shechem, which is modern-day Nablus in the disputed territories. As part of the 1993 Oslo Accords, Jewish prayer at the site is limited to once a month during the middle of the night, when the IDF secures access to the tomb. Jewish worshippers often attempt to visit the site without prior coordination with the IDF.
In 2011, Palestinian Authority police officers responsible for administering security at the holy site opened fire on three cars driven by Jewish worshippers, killing a 25-year-old man and injuring four more.