Samaria Chief Rabbi Elyakim Levanon called on rabbis and religious leaders this week not to send their students to pray at Joseph's Tomb in the West Bank city of Nablus, without coordinating the visit with the Israel Defense Forces.
Speaking following Sunday's shooting incident
at the holy site, which left one Jewish worshipper dead and several injured, the rabbi condemned religious leaders encouraging their followers to pray there.
"I'm pleading with the rabbis, those who do not live in our area and don't know the real situation in Shechem, and based on that give those who listen to them – their students and followers – instructions that have nothing to do with reality.
"As long as we are not in full control of the area, that city is filled with snakes," Levanon said in an interview with Kol Hai Radio on Tuesday.
The rabbi even stressed that he was referring to "those same rabbis who were asked and gave the wrong instructions to their followers and disciples."
Ben Yosef Livnat, a Breslov Hasid, was shot to death
early Sunday by a Palestinian police officer after praying at the Joseph Tomb's compound in Nablus.
Livnat was survived by his wife and four small children. Five other worshippers were injured from the gunshots, one of them sustaining serious wounds.
"When we returned from the prayer, the policemen fired many rounds of bullets at the vehicle," one of the worshippers said. "We heard bullets hitting the car and shattering the glass. They shouted 'Allahu Akbar' (God is great). It was crazy, they were shooting to kill."
Shomron Regional Council head Gershon Mesika referred to the incident as a "massacre". Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat, whose nephew was killed in the incident, said
he was "murdered by a terrorist disguised as a Palestinian policeman, for no reason, just because he wanted to pray."