Some 2,000 Jews celebrated the last night of Chanukah at Kever Yosef in Shechem, as the site was opened for Jews in a rare early evening event. The candles were lit by the commander of the IDF’s Yehudah and Shomron Brigades, Lior Carmeli. Also present were a long list of VIPs from the area, including Shomron Council chairman Yossi Dagan. Among the Rabbanim present was Harav Yoshiyahu Pinto.
The event was organized by the Council, as part of ongoing efforts to keep up a Jewish presence at the site, in the midst of Shechem.
Commenting on the event, Dagan said that thousands of Jews had come to the site to celebrate Chanukah, an especially relevant time, given that the parshiyos hashavua during Chanukah discuss the events surrounding the life of Yosef Hatzaddik. “I hope that next year we will have not only thousands, but tens of thousands coming to light with Jews from around the world. It is only fitting that this site be under full Israeli sovereignty.”
Arabs have vandalized and set fire to Kever Yosef numerous times since the signing of the Oslo Accords, most notably in 2000, 2003, 2008, and 2014. Between 2003 and 2009, the site remained desolate, until Israel and the PA reached an accord on refurbishing the site in 2010. Currently, Jews are allowed to visit Kever Yosef once a month to daven – on Erev Rosh Chodesh.
The visitors were guarded by a unit of Givati soldiers, who placed themselves between the Kever compound and Arab residential areas. No incidents were reported during the event.