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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Return to Joseph's tomb

On October 4, 2000, Druse Israeli soldier Madhat Yussef bled to death inside Joseph's tomb after the IDF, on orders from then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz refused for more than four hours to risk 'Palestinian' casualties to rescue the wounded soldier. (Please note that I am not excerpting the CNN report linked above because it is an example of extreme media bias against Israel). Three days later, Barak then ordered the tomb, which is located in Shchem (Nablus) evacuated and the 'Palestinians' destroyed the dome over the tomb and severely damaged the grave stone. Later, the tomb was destroyed and only part of it remains. Today, due to the government's unwillingness to let the IDF suppress 'Palestinian' violence, going to Joseph's tomb is a dangerous and risky proposition.

On Sunday night, in the middle of the night, some 300 people went to the tomb with an IDF escort on armored buses. One of those people was Jameel who blogs at the Muqata. Here's what he writes about it:
The last time I visited Kever Yosef (Joseph's tomb) in Shechem was right before the start of the current Intifada. Security was tight, Palestinian policemen snarled at us, but there was a constant Jewish presence there studying at the yeshiva adjacent to Kever Yosef. 3 days later it was all destroyed.

For years I have been trying to return, but it never worked out. I drove twice to Itamar, only to be told that due to security threats, the planned incursion was cancelled.

No formal method ever works to get to Kever Yosef; it's a combination of proteciza, luck, being at the right place at the right time, and siyata dishmaya (help from heaven).

But it never worked out. I drove at midnight once to the Tapuach junction, only to face a mass of Bresolver Chassidim pushing and shoving to get on the only bus. Rather than push and shove, I went home.

But Monday night, things worked out differently.

Not willing to push through the throng of chassidim, my group of friends arranged via a friend some "special" treatment. Parking at Tapuach junction, a high ranking IDF officer ran over to us and gave a hug. He invited me and 3 others to join him in HIS car, and he personally drove us through all he IDF checkpoints. North from Tapuach...going on road 60 through Chawara...up till the Har Bracha intersection.

He stopped his car, and we got out -- only to be introduced to an ever higher ranking officer. He smiled and introduced himself as the commander of the roadblock, and asked us our names. He repeated over and over again how lucky we were to be going to Kever Yosef, and how wonderful it is for the Jewish people to have representatives going to pray there.

Soldier after soldier smiled at us, shook our hands, and asked us to pray on their behalf as well.

After a few minutes, a packed bus showed up and was stopped at the roadblock. Our smiling commander told the bus driver he had 4 additional guest passengers, and we managed to get on the bus...

5 minutes later, we were stopped at a checkpoint going into Shechem, where we waited for our military escort. Trust me, going into Shechem makes my trip to Hevron last summer with Treppenwitz and Psychotoddler look like a stroll in the park. Forget Beirut...Shechem is a whole different universe.

IDF APCs, armored Hummers, Jeeps, military ambulances, and even tanks were part of the security detail for our entrance to Kever Yosef.

Snaking through the deserted 1:30 AM streets of Shechem, my heart was racing with excitement at the thought of finally returning to Kever Yosef.

We arrived, and were quickly ordered into the remains of the compound. Soldiers were everywhere, aiming their rifles up high, ready to shoot at any danger.

To get the jist of the experience, I put together the following video clip.

Go to Jameel's site and watch the video. It's amazing.


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