update deskIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

Palestinians attack Jew on illegal pilgrimage to Joseph’s Tomb

The victim was part of a group that tried to reach the Nablus site without IDF approval.

Hundreds of Jewish men pray at the Joseph's Tomb compound in Nablus, June 10, 2013. Photo by Yaakov Naumi/Flash90.
Hundreds of Jewish men pray at the Joseph's Tomb compound in Nablus, June 10, 2013. Photo by Yaakov Naumi/Flash90.

A haredi Jew sustained minor wounds in a Palestinian attack overnight Sunday as he tried to enter Nablus (Shechem) in Samaria to pray at the Joseph’s Tomb site on the outskirts of the city.

The man, who was part of a group that had attempted to reach the site without approval of the Israel Defense Forces, was rescued by Palestinian Authority police, who released him into IDF custody.

The victim was treated on the spot for wounds to his face and evacuated to Rabin Medical Center’s Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikvah.

Israeli authorities had chartered 12 buses for the visit to Nablus, which was organized on the occasion of the 41st day of the Omer—the seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot.

The 41st day of this period corresponds to the Kabbalistic attribute associated with the biblical figure Joseph, whose bones are believed to have been brought from Egypt when the Jewish people left there.

Walla cited sources in the Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration as saying that a larger group than expected arrived at the pick-up site and demanded to pray at the tomb. At one point, groups of Jews started to enter Nablus on foot, prompting the military to order their arrest.

As part of the organized visit, bereaved families and relatives of wounded soldiers prayed at Joseph’s Tomb for the recovery of injured troops, a military victory over Hamas and the return of the hostages.

Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, who joined the delegation on Sunday night, offered a prayer of strength to IDF soldiers and the government in Jerusalem “to exterminate our barbarian enemies.”

“The bereaved families and the wounded heroes of the war lead this entry of ‘Yesod Shebayesod‘ [of the Omer]. We are honored by their presence here with us. We all embrace you; you are not alone. Through your strength, the people of Israel will be victorious,” said Dagan.

Among the bereaved Israelis who prayed at the tomb overnight were the relatives of Elhanan Klein, who was murdered in a Palestinian shooting attack on Route 557 near the town of Einav in Samaria on Nov. 2.

“I think Elhanan would be pleased if he knew that we would be here, especially during a war,” his brother Yishai said, adding, “The Jewish hold [on the Land of Israel] was very important to him, and the hold on Joseph’s Tomb must be part of that.”

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