Joseph’s Tomb drew more tense clashes to it on Monday as two members of Rabbi Eliezer Berland’s Breslover hasidic sect were shot at the entrance of the city, trying to get to the Tomb, and Palestinians vandalized the site. Videos shared on social media show a number of young men throwing stones inside the site.
The two Israelis, from Bnei Brak and Jerusalem, broke through an unmanned checkpoint at one of the entrances to Nablus before being shot and then driving to a manned checkpoint at a different exit from the city. IDF soldiers provided initial medical treatment to the wounded before transferring them for further care at the Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva.
On Saturday night, Palestinian rioters vandalized Joseph’s Tomb during clashes with Israeli soldiers, setting fire to the religious landmark and damaging items at the site.
The heads of the Knesset Land of Israel Caucus announced on Monday morning that they intend to visit the tomb on Monday night, even if the army does not provide permission and protection, after the commander of the IDF’s Central Command told the caucus earlier that they were forbidden from entering the tomb.
“The commander’s announcement is contrary to the provisions of the attorney-general, restricts the freedom of activity of Knesset members with immunity and impairs the performance of our role as elected officials,” said MKs Orit Struck (Religious Zionist Party) and Yoav Kish (Likud). “The fact that Jews are restricted from entering a place that should be under full Israeli military and civilian control is a disgrace.”
“If we do not receive an alternative date for the next few days, we intend to enter Joseph’s Tomb tonight with or without permission,” they said.
Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan condemned the shooting on Monday, saying that “nothing justifies the brutal murders and terrorism from the Palestinian Authority’s seminary headed by terrorist Abu Mazen (President Mahmoud Abbas).”
Dagan said that there was, “just yesterday morning, an ISIS-style barbaric destruction at the so-sacred site of Joseph’s tomb and today, a cold-blooded shooting at Jews who came to pray.
“The responsibility lies solely with the terrorists of the Palestinian Authority and no less so with the people who continue to obsessively market this group of terrorists,” he said. “As their ‘partner,’ they need to surrender the heart of the Land of Israel. To bring this reality to the entire State of Israel.”
Dagan stressed, however, that people should not try to enter Joseph’s Tomb outside of the visits coordinated with the IDF once a month.
Later on Monday morning, clashes erupted between Israeli forces and Palestinians in the city. A house caught on fire during the clashes, according to Palestinian reports – and Azmi Mansour, an officer in the Palestinian Authority’s security services, was reportedly arrested.