Kever Yosef in the Palestinian city of Nablus was restored and repaired Tuesday night by the Shomron Regional Council after it was set ablaze and severely damaged by Palestinian rioters last month.
A team of 50 workers, including stone masons, painters, welders, and electricians arrived at the site at 1:00 a.m., with an IDF escort, to carry out the necessary repairs and worked at the site through the night until approximately 6:00 a.m. to complete the restoration.
The most serious damage was done to the stone tomb itself inside the external structure. The rioters smashed and broke several marble panels overlaid on the tomb, breaking them with hammers, iron bars and other implements.
The restoration work replaced the marble around the tomb, as well as repainting the site, and repairing and replacing lighting and other aspects of the site’s infrastructure which were damaged in the attack.
Under the Oslo Accords, Jews are allowed regular access to the site but Jewish worshipers can currently only access the tomb once a month in the middle of the night, when the IDF secures the roads that lead to the tomb.
The Book of Joshua records that the biblical figure Joseph was buried in the city of Shechem, close to present day Nablus. The tomb is believed to be his final resting place, although there is an archaeological debate on the issue.
Historically the site has been revered by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. In the last 15 years, however, the site has been repeatedly targeted by Palestinian rioters and vandals and was badly gutted by another arson attack in 2000. It was only restored after that incident in 2011.