The IDF and the Palestinian Authority have reached an agreement on the renovation of Joseph's Tomb in Nablus, Ynet learned Thursday. Almost ten years ago the tomb was violated by Palestinians who took it over.
On Thursday morning, Israel's chief
rabbis, Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar, visited the tomb along with Shmuel Rabinowitz, rabbi of the Western Wall and the holy sites of Israel. They were accompanied by IDF officers, who told Ynet later that the visit was in honor of the upcoming Jewish New Year.
Rabbi Rabinowitz began supervising the renovation of the holy site one year ago, following a meeting with the head of the Civil Administration, Yoav Mordechai.
Since then meetings have been held with the Palestinian Authority on the site's reconstruction, and in honor of the rabbi's visit the fence around the tomb was rebuilt. It marked the beginning of the renovations, which are believed to be completed shortly.
Rabbinate sources explained to Ynet that the visit was aimed at demonstrating that the improvements being made at the site after terrorists destroyed it during the intifada are religious and not political, which may speed up the renovations.
The rabbis held a prayer service at the tomb as well as the ancient synagogue in Jericho, and Metzger spoke out against Jews who travel to the holy sites in the Palestinian territories to pray without coordinating ahead of time with security forces.
"This is a mitzvah that is carried out through crime," he said. "Joseph the righteous gets no joy from such prayer."
Metzger added that officers had told him about a group of infiltrators who had nearly been fired at by soldiers, who mistook them for terrorists.
Hanan Greenberg contributed to this report