web analytics
April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Time To Retake Joseph’s Tomb


Share Button

It was supposed to be temporary.

Nine years ago last month, then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak ordered the Israeli army to withdraw from Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem (Nablus) in one of the most humiliating retreats in the nation’s modern history.

The move came after Palestinian policemen and Fatah terrorists had launched a coordinated assault on the Israeli soldiers who were bravely guarding the sacred burial ground of our biblical forebear.

Displaying their customary respect for Jewish holy sites, the Palestinian attackers had surrounded the compound, strafed it with automatic-weapons fire and attempted to seize it by force.

Rather than standing firm in the face of the Palestinian onslaught, Barak chose instead to make history of the most dubious sort. He issued an unprecedented order for the IDF to pull out under fire and surrender territory to the Palestinians as a direct result of violence.

The abandonment of Joseph’s Tomb, we were assured at the time, was not permanent, but rather a tactical move dictated by the situation on the ground. Back on October 7, 2000, just hours after the last IDF soldiers had evacuated from the area, the website of Yediot Aharonot reported in a banner headline, “Israel pulls out of Joseph’s Tomb – ‘Temporarily.’ ”

But here we are, nearly a decade later, and the Tomb still remains “temporarily” abandoned by the Jewish state, in what has become a mark of shame for our people and our country.

Indeed, who can forget the painful scenes that followed the withdrawal, when a frenzied mob of Palestinians armed with sledgehammers hacked and smashed the tomb to pieces?

And what about the prayer books and other Jewish religious objects that were set alight, as the throng celebrated the destruction they had wrought?

Coming just a week after the start of what came to be known as the Second Intifada, the pullout from Joseph’s Tomb fanned the flames of Palestinian rejectionism, which continue to smolder to the present day.

The withdrawal set a dangerous example for the Palestinians that resorting to carnage and terror does pay, which only continues to inspire them to dream of ejecting us from the region through violence and mayhem.

And that is precisely why it is so crucial that Israel reassert control over Joseph’s Tomb. We cannot and must not allow this affront to Jewish history to stand, especially now when so much pressure is being brought to bear on Israel to make still more concessions to the Palestinians.

It is therefore time to turn back the clock and reclaim this part of our ancestral patrimony.

Don’t believe those in the media and on the Left who cast doubt on the authenticity of the tomb, mockingly suggesting that it belongs to an unknown Arab sheikh. Nothing could be further from the truth.

For example, the late Dr. Zvi Ilan, one of Israel’s foremost archeologists, described Joseph’s Tomb as “one of the tombs whose location is known with the utmost degree of certainty and is based on continuous documentation since Biblical times” (Tombs of the Righteous in the Land of Israel, p. 365).

The Book of Joshua (24:32) states explicitly, “The bones of Joseph which the Children of Israel brought up from Egypt were buried in Shechem in the portion of the field that had been purchased by Jacob.”

Ancient rabbinic texts such as the Midrash mention the site, as did the early Church historian Eusebius of Caesarea, who visited it nearly 1,700 years ago. Arab geographers, medieval Jewish pilgrims, Samaritan historians and even 19th- century British cartographers all concur regarding the site and its location.

Prior to the Palestinian takeover in October 2000, the tomb’s compound was host to a yeshiva, and it was visited by thousands of Jewish worshipers annually.

So there is no doubt that Joseph’s Tomb really is the tomb of Joseph, son of the biblical patriarch Jacob. And we owe it to him – and to ourselves – to take it back and raise the Israeli flag once again over the compound.

Twice in Jewish history, Joseph was forsaken by his brothers and handed over to foreign control. The first time was in the biblical story, when he was tossed into a pit and sold to traveling merchants. The second time was in October 2000, when his tomb was surrendered to Palestinian rioters.

It is not too late to right this historical wrong. Doing so will send a message to our enemies that we shall never again retreat under fire, and that we will defend our right to live and worship in this land as we see fit.

So let’s at last do what should have been done long ago – take back Joseph’s Tomb, and with it, our self-respect as well.

Michael Freund served as deputy director of communications & policy planning in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office under Benjamin Netanyahu from 1996 to 1999. He is founder and chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), which reaches out and assists “lost Jews” seeking to return to the Jewish people.

Share Button

About the Author: Michael Freund is the Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel. He writes a syndicated column and feature stories for the Jerusalem Post, Israel’s leading English-language daily, and he previously served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Prime Minister’s Office under Benjamin Netanyahu. A native of New York, he holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Time To Retake Joseph’s Tomb”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Unit 9900 is an intelligence unit that utilizes the unique capabilities of soldiers on the autism spectrum.
Autism in the IDF: Uniquely Talented Soldiers
Latest Indepth Stories
Haredim riot after draft-dodger is arrested.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

Bitton-041814

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

MK Moshe-Feiglin

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

Dov Shurin

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

Jewish soldiers in the Polish forces often encountered anti-Semitic prejudice.

When the state was established, gedolim went to Ben-Gurion and asked him not to draft women and, later, yeshiva bachrim.

Perhaps worse than all the above is the acute lack of unity among Jews

At our seder we emulate the way it was celebrated in Temple times, as if the Temple still stood.

More Articles from Michael Freund
Michael Freund

Speaking in his native German, Schulz used the opportunity to blast Israel.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeieris is browbeating Israel in public.

Ever since he vanished, the American government had repeatedly asserted that Levinson was a private businessman — his own safety.

For the second time in the past three months, Israel on Sunday declared its intention to build over 1,000 housing units in areas beyond the 1967 lines.

Nearly seven decades since the end of World War II, Poland is once again turning on its Jews.

In a stunning move last week, the lower house of the Polish parliament rejected a bill that would have restored the legality of shechita, or kosher slaughter, by a vote of 222 to 178.

Last Friday, the Western Wall underwent an unwelcome transformation from sacred site to media circus as the group known as the Women of the Wall sought to hold a decidedly non-traditional prayer service.

The state of Israel this week turned 65, defying history and the odds to celebrate its continued existence in a very dangerous part of the world.

As I write these words, a Jewish toddler injured in a Palestinian terror attack is lying in a hospital bed struggling for her life.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/fundamentally-freund/time-to-retake-josephs-tomb/2009/11/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: