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PA security guard rabbis on visit to Joseph's Tomb

Feb. 13, 2012 11:06 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 14, 2012 5:32 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma’an) -- Israeli rabbis visited Joseph's Tomb in Nablus last Thursday guarded by Palestinian Authority forces, in the first such security coordination of its kind.

“The PA considers Joseph’s Tomb a historic site which everybody has the right to access as long as they comply with Palestinian instructions and regulations, because the tomb is under Palestinian control,” the governor of Nablus Jibreel al-Bakri told Ma'an.

Fifteen Jewish rabbis from Bnei Brak in Tel Aviv visited Joseph’s Tomb last Thursday evening for one hour.

The visit was to perform a prayer dedicated to Rabbi Shalom Elyashiv, 102.

Palestinian security officers received the rabbis at Huwwara checkpoint and escorted them during the visit and then back to the checkpoint.

“I state it clearly that visitors are welcome, but those who come to create troubles aren’t welcome at all,” al-Bakri said.

The rabbis arrived at the tomb in their own vehicles escorted by Palestinian security forces which remained in place until the visit had ended.

The visit was coordinated with the leader of Israel's Central Command, Avi Mizrahi, who assured the rabbis they would be safe.

Jews believe that the tomb is the final resting place of the biblical figure Joseph. Muslims believe that an Islamic cleric, Sheikh Yussef (Joseph) Dawiqat, was buried there.

The restoration of the tomb was completed recently, and following improved security cooperation with the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli army allows Jewish worshipers to make monthly nocturnal pilgrimages to the site.
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