Thousands of people visited Kever Yosef on the eighth night of Chanukah to daven, say Tehillim, and light Chanukah candles. Participating in the candle lighting were heads of IDF forces in Yehudah and Shomron and noted prominent Rabbanim from towns and cities in the region. Altogether some 2,500 people attended the event.
Soldiers held back several hundred Arab rioters who attempted to reach the kever and attack Jews. The rioters threw rocks and firebombs at soldiers. No Israelis were injured in the incidents. 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.
Shomron Council head Yossi Dagan said that the lighting of Chanukah candles at Kever Yosef “is a great privilege. Just as Yosef Hatzaddik left the dark prison and attained the status of royalty with all its light, we believe the same thing will happen with Kever Yosef – that it will be freed from the spiritual darkness it is now imprisoned in and emerge into the light of limud Torah, the light that a permanent Jewish presence will bring.”