Israeli Knesset Members Visit Joseph's Tomb

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Six weeks after a Palestinian Authority policeman opened fire on Jewish worshippers traveling to Joseph's Tomb, 15 Knesset members from the Land of Israel Lobby visited the site on Tuesday.

Ben-Yosef Livnat, 25, was killed and four others injured in what Israel later called a terror attack.

Joseph's Tomb, located in the P.A.-controlled city of Nablus (biblical Shechem), is supposed to be a protected Jewish holy site according to Israeli-Palestinian agreements. Israelis wanting to visit the site -- believed to be the burial place of the Jewish patriarch -- must coordinate their visit with Israeli security forces.

Among the MKs taking part in the visit were Aryeh Eldad, Danny Danon, Tzipi Hotovely, and Ze'ev Elki. Shomron (Samaria) Chief Rabbi Elyakim Levanon and Gershon Mesika, head of the Shomron Regional Council who arranged the visit, also took part.

Tuesday's visit -- coordinated with Israeli and P.A. security forces -- was the first daylight visit in many years, according to Shomron Liaison Office Executive Director Yaakov David Ha'ivri.

In a statement released by his office, Ha'ivri said Tuesday's visit was especially significant coming six weeks after Livnat's untimely death.

"Today's visit is made all the more significant in that it comes merely a month and a half after the murder of  Yosef Livnat, a religious Jew, who was killed by Palestinian Authority forces while making his way to the Tomb, unarmed, with the intent to peacefully worship at the site," Ha'ivri said in a statement released by his office.

Livnat, 25, was the nephew of Sports and Culture Minister Limor Livnat, who called the attack "cold blooded murder."

"Today's event sends a clear message that the Jewish people clings fiercely to its holy sites and will continue to do so in spite of the violent and often murderous attempts of our enemies to break the bond between the people of Israel and their land," he said.

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