NABLUS - Nearly 500 Israelis arriving at the compound housing Joseph's Tomb -- thought to be the burial place of the Patriarch Jacob's son (Gen. 37- 50) -- on Wednesday evening discovered more than the usual amount of vandalism.
The headstone was cracked and swastikas spray-painted on the walls, one depicting a bloodied sword over a Star of David and another showed a boot trampling the Jewish star.
"It is sad that is the way they treat a holy site, but nobody was particularly surprised," said David Ha'ivri, spokesman for Gershon Masika, chairman of the Samaria Regional Council.
"Every time, we bring white paint to cover up the graffiti," he said.
Wednesday evening's visitors reported seeing boot prints everywhere.
"Putting your foot on something is the ultimate insult in the Arab world," Ha'ivri said.
The compound, located in Nablus (biblical Shechem) in Samaria, is under Israeli control, but it's surrounded by a city under Palestinian Authority (PA) control.
In December 2008, Jews and local Arabs worked side-by-side to restore the compound, defaced by local Arabs numerous times, and the IDF began escorting groups of worshippers to the site.
Desecrating Joseph's Tomb
In October 7, 2000, a month after the start of the second intifada (armed Palestinian uprising), a mob of local Arabs attacked a small IDF (Israel Defense Forces) contingent of border policemen guarding the site and its yeshiva (Torah seminary).
One border policeman, Yusef Madhat, who was critically injured in the attack, bled to death when Arabs refused to allow the IDF to evacuate him.
Then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak ordered a temporary evacuation of Israeli troops from the site, after receiving assurances by PA officials to would safeguard the compound under the Oslo Accord provisions to protect holy sites.
Two hours after the IDF withdrew its forces, a mob reduced the compound to a pile of rubble, destroying the yeshiva, burning its furniture and books.
Within two days, The Associated Press reported that "the dome of the tomb was painted green and bulldozers were seen clearing the surrounding area" as local Arabs tried to transform Joseph's Tomb into a Muslim holy site.
Source: YNet news