About 1,000 Jewish pilgrims visit Joseph’s Tomb


JERUSALEM (JTA) — About 1,000 Jewish pilgrims visited Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus in an area of the West Bank that is under the exclusive military and civilian control of the Palestinian Authority.

The visit on Sunday night, the second Hanukkah light, lasted until just before dawn on Monday morning, under Israeli military escort. Residents of the Balata refugee camp near Nablus reportedly threw firebombs and rocks at Israeli troops, and rolled burning tires near them.

A Palestinian man, 20, was injured in the foot, reportedly with live fire, during clashes with Israeli security forces over the pre-arranged visit, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported.

Joseph’s Tomb is also holy to Muslims and Christians. Israeli Jews must receive permission to visit the purported burial place of the Jewish patriarch; the visits must be coordinated with the Israel Defense Forces.

Under the 1993 Oslo Accords, the site was to remain under Israeli control, but the Israeli army evacuated the premises in October 2000 during the second intifada and the tomb was burnt down by Palestinians. It was renovated and restored, but then torched and vandalized again last October.

Jewish worshippers, in coordination with the IDF, make monthly nocturnal pilgrimages to the refurbished site.

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