Approximately 700 Jewish worshipers who arrived at the Tomb of Joseph outside of Shechem (Nablus) late Wednesday night in preparation for the upcoming high-holidays were attacked by dozens of Arabs throwing rocks and improvised fire-bombs. IDF troops assigned to protect the worshipers responded with rubber bullets, tear gas and shock grenades, dispersing the crowds. No injuries were reported, though last month, under similar circumstances, a soldier was shot by an Arab and moderately wounded.
Under the 1993 Oslo Accords, Joseph’s Tomb was to remain under Israeli control, but the Palestinian Authority (PA) took over the site after the Israeli army withdrew during the second intifada. Though Biblical Joseph plays a prominent role in the Koran and Muslims admit he was Jewish, Palestinians have declared the tomb a Muslim holy site, claiming it is the funerary monument of Sheikh Yousef Dweikat, a local religious figure.Despite claiming it is holy to them, Palestinians vandalize the shrine and have burned it to the ground several times.
Rachel’s Tomb is a few hundred yards south of Jerusalem and on the outskirts of Bethlehem. Riot dispersal gear was used and the incident ended with no injuries.