JERUSALEM (JTA) — Hundreds of Jewish worshipers who arrived for a prayer service at Joseph’s Tomb found it vandalized.
Some of the 500 pilgrims visiting the tomb, in the West Bank city of Nablus, late Wednesday night said it was struck with a hard object and was full of boot prints, the headstone was smashed and swastikas were drawn on the walls, according to reports.
The tomb has been burned and damaged several times. In 2001, Palestinian rioters burned and defaced the tomb less than a year after Israeli troops pulled out of the tomb compound. It was renovated recently by residents of area West Bank communities, in part to repair damage from the 2001 incident.
Jews were prevented from visiting the tomb for several years following the Israeli army’s pullout from Nablus, but last December the army began allowing groups to visit the compound at night with approval from military authorities.