Over 3,000 people came to daven at Kever Yosef Monday night, on one of the nights designated for entry by Jews to the site. IDF troops remained on alert to ensure the security of visitors. Several hours before visitors began arriving, soldiers at the entrance to the Kever Yosef compound were targeted by an Arab vehicle that drove toward them at high speed. Soldiers opened fired at the vehicle and neutralized the driver. There were no injuries to Israeli personnel.
As Jews said Selichos at the site, Arabs threw rocks at the compound. Soldiers used antiriot measures to fend off the terrorists. Arab sources reported that several of the rioters were injured, but the IDF said that there were no injuries to any of the rioters. Arabs also threw a firebomb at the entrance to the site. There were no injuries in that incident either.
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 a total of 15 times a year – usually on Erev Rosh Chodesh or during holidays – to daven.
Among those visiting the site were Housing Minister Yoav Galant, who said that “nothing symbolizes to me our return to the Land of Israel [more] than the fact that a person can come and touch the tziyun here at Kever Yosef, or at Kever Rochel. This represents a deep connection between the present and the past, from thousands of years ago until now. The return of a nation from a lengthy exile such as ours to the land of their forefathers and returning to life is unprecedented.”