Two weeks after it was burned down and desecrated by Arab rioters, Joseph's Tomb, the Biblical grave located in Samaria's Shechem (Nablus), was repaired Monday night in an overnight operation.
The five-hour long repair operation that involved a week's worth of work was conducted by rabbis, IDF officers, and over 50 experts in repairs including engineers, electricians, stone-workers, and various other contractors.
In the operation initiated by Samaria regional council head Yossi Dagan, the grave marker at the site was likewise completely renewed and repaired.
Dagan was joined by his deputy Davidi Ben-Tzion, as well as Samaria Chief Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, and other leading regional figures and IDF commanders.
"This is an historic and moving moment," said Dagan. "Joy and sadness are mixed. On the one hand we merit – together with IDF soldiers and commanders, members of the Samaria regional council, representatives of the official state of Israel – to fix even a little the awful damage of the barbarity of the Palestinian Authority (PA) that vandalized such a holy place to the Jewish people and a site of historical importance to all of humanity."
"On the other hand, you see the awful destruction. To come here at midnight like thieves in the night, to a place that is without a doubt ours, is not an easy feeling."
Dagan's mention of the PA references how despite PA Security Forces eventually breaking up the Arab rioters who burned the site, they first allowed them to wreak mayhem, and local leaders noted such wide-scale destruction could not have taken place without the PA supporting or at the least allowing it. Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef said the PA "is like ISIS" after visiting the burned site.
"I call on the government of Israel to gather strength to implement sovereignty fully over this holy site, which even according to the awful (1994) Oslo Accords needs to be in Israeli control," added Dagan.
That Israeli control lasted until Arab rioters occupied, desecrated and burned down the site in 2000 amid the Second Intifada terror war. Since then it has problematically been left under PA control, with the IDF only allowing Jews to visit once a month on Rosh Chodesh.
Rabbi Elyakim said of the reconstruction: "with G-d's help the nation of Israel will arise to resurrection after this night, it will be a sign of a great revival for the nation of Israel."