Nearly 1,300 people came to daven at Kever Yosef Monday night, accompanied security forces who fended off numerous Arab rioters who attempted to reach mispallelim. Prior to the arrival of visitors, IDF forces, b’chasdei Shamayim, discovered an explosive device at the site that was set to go off while Israelis were at the kever. The discovery and neutralization of the device avoided what could have been a major terror attack.
Among the visitors was Education Minister Rafi Peretz. “We need to bring many more Jews to live in the Shomron,” he said. “This is our land, given to us by Hashem, and we hope to merit to drive deep roots in the land here. Anyone who visits this site takes from our roots and brings them home to their families and communities. During these days of debate and separation, let us remember the lesson of Yosef Hatzaddik, who brought together the Jewish people with love.”
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 – usually on Erev Rosh Chodesh – to daven.
Overnight Monday, security officials said they arrested 19 wanted security suspects in other areas in Yehudah and Shomron. The suspects were wanted for participating in rioting and throwing stones and firebombs that endangered Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers. Several of the suspects were also charged with belonging to Hamas. All were being questioned on their activities by security forces.