JERUSALEM (JTA) — Some 1,600 Jewish worshipers escorted by Israeli soldiers visited Joseph’s Tomb for late night prayers, but the event was overshadowed by others who refused to leave the West Bank holy site.
The worshippers entered the site in the West Bank city of Nablus early Monday morning in coordination with the army. The visit came five weeks after a Jewish man who entered the tomb without permission was shot dead by a Palestinian policeman.
An additional 200 Israelis entered the tomb without permission Monday, and some 50 refused to leave the tomb building when the visit ended. Soldiers forcibly removed the Israelis who refused to leave, and arrested three.
Local Palestinians complained to the military about vandalism by the infiltrators, which officials said would be investigated.
On Sunday, an Israel Defense Forces inquiry concluded that the shooting by Palestinian policemen, who opened fire at Joseph’s Tomb last month killing Ben-Yosef Livnat, 25, was not premeditated, but was carried out with the intent to hurt Israelis since their lives were not at risk.