Israeli man killed during visit to Joseph’s Tomb


JERUSALEM (JTA) — One Israeli was killed and at least four injured during a visit to Joseph’s Tomb near the West Bank city of Nablus.

The men were part of a group of 15 Breslov Hasidim who arrived early Sunday morning in three cars to worship at the site, which is holy to Jews and is located in West Bank territory under full Palestinian control. The worshippers did not coordinate their visit with the Israel Defense Forces. 

A Palestinian security guard fired on one of the cars as it was leaving the site, saying the men’s activities looked "suspicious." Worshippers in the other cars told Ynet that the Palestinian police officers shouted "Allahu Akbar" or God is great, as they shot at the vehicles leaving the site.

A joint IDF-Palestinian investigation is looking in to the incident.

The dead man, who was buried Sunday morning, was identified as Ben-Joseph Livnat, 25, a father of four from Jerusalem. He is the nephew of Israeli Science and Culture Minister Limor Livnat of the ruling Likud Party.

Rioting occurred in Nablus following the incident, according to reports, and the tomb also reportedly was set on fire by Palestinian youths. The tomb was recently renovated after being badly damaged and desecrated during the second Palestinian Intifada.

Minister Livnat said in a statement that her nephew had wanted to pray at the tomb in honor of the Passover holiday and said that he "was killed in cold blood in an abominable way."

The Israeli army coordinates monthly prayer visits to the tomb, believed to be the burial site of the Biblical patriarch Joseph and his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Members of the Breslov sect frequently sneak in to the tomb to pray, without coordinating their visits, according to reports.

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