Arab vandals broke into Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus/Shechem on Saturday night, setting fire to parts of the site and smashing parts of the tomb structure, Israeli media reported on Sunday.
The attackers also reportedly damaged a large chandelier at the site, shattered a water tank and broke an electrical cabinet, according to Israel Hayom.
Responding to the incident, Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Ran Kochav told Army Radio that the vandals had been captured by Palestinian Authority security forces. “There was a march by 100 Arabs from Nablus to Joseph’s Tomb, and they rioted and set fire to the tomb,” said Kochav.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz called the vandalism at the tomb “a grave event and a serious violation of freedom of worship in one of the holiest places for every Jew. It violates the feelings of the entire Jewish nation, especially when it occurs during the Muslim holy month.”
The defense minister vowed that “the State of Israel will take action to ensure that the site will be refurbished and quickly returned to its original condition. In addition, we will take all the measures necessary to prevent such incidents.”
Gantz said he delivered “a strong message to the Palestinian Authority, demanding the immediate reinforcement of their officials on-site, and decisive action against rioters and terrorists that harm stability and security in holy places.”
Arab vandals torched Joseph’s Tomb in 2015, causing serious damage, which was later repaired by the Samaria Regional Council.
In 2000, Arab terrorists attacked the site at a time when it was guarded by a small IDF force. That attack resulted in the killing of Israeli Border Police officer Madhat Yousef.