Palestinian rioters vandalized Joseph’s Tomb Saturday night amid a new spike in tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.
The latest spark was set off by a Thursday night terror attack in Tel Aviv that killed three people, which was followed by arrests made by Israeli forces, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Joseph’s Tomb is located in the West Bank city of Nablus and is under the nominal control of the Palestinian Authority.
On Saturday night, about 100 Palestinians vandalized the holy site and set fires before being sent away by Palestinian security forces, Israel Defense Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Ran Kochav said, according to the Times of Israel.
“Attacking holy sites is attacking the heart of a people,” Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said.
“The Palestinians who laid waste to Joseph’s Tomb seek to sow destruction and devastation during a holy festival. This is serious damage not only to the tomb itself, but to the deeply-held feelings of the Jewish people,” he said.
“We will bring the perpetrators to justice and repair Joseph’s Tomb. I call on everyone to promote calm and quiet,” he said.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of Israel said the country “will not accept this kind of an attack on a place that is holy to us, particularly on the eve of Passover. We will reach the rioters. Of course, we will make sure to rebuild what they destroyed, as we always do,” the Post reported.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the episode was a serious breach of the peace.
“The vandalism of Joseph’s Tomb is a serious event and a grave violation of freedom of worship in one of the holiest places for every Jew. It violates the feelings of the entire Jewish nation, especially when it occurs during the Muslim holy month,” Gantz said.
“The State of Israel will take action to ensure that the site will be refurbished and quickly returned to its original condition. In addition, we will take all the measures necessary to prevent such incidents,” he said.
The tomb, built on the location of the biblical city of Shechem, has been overseen by the Palestinian Authority since October 2000.
“I strongly condemn the destruction of Joseph’s tomb tonight by Palestinians,” former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
“This is a serious attack on an important and sacred place for the Jewish people, on the eve of Passover. The place must be renovated immediately, and peace and security must be restored.”