Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Restore Joseph's Tomb

Michael Freund wrote an excellent piece in the Jerusalem Post called "Restore Joseph's Tomb". In it he details the history of how the tomb was destroyed by the Arabs in October 2000, and how a Druse soldier was left to bleed to death there a few days earlier when the then Prime Minister Ehud Barak trusted the Palestinian authority to go in and evacuate him. The army repeatedly asked permission to rescue their own soldier, but were refused.

Freund points out the reasons why it would be a positive step to restore the tomb. I agree with him 100% - and I think it should have been done immediately after it was destroyed! From a practical point of view it is not so farfetched an idea.

For those of you unfamiliar with the geography, Joseph's Tomb is located in the southeastern corner of the city of Schem (Nablus). Schem is a city roughly shaped like a bone - with the thin central part lying between the mountains of Grizim and Eval (see the Biblical reference here, which shows the ancient Jewish connection to this area). On the eastern part the city expands north and southwards, and the tomb is located almost at the edge of the southernmost part. There is a north/south road which separates Schem from the Balata refugee camp, and leads to the turnoff to the Jewish settlements which dot the hills overlooking Schem. From this road it is a matter of a few blocks to the tomb.

Of course the Jews would have to worry about the surrounding buildings - because of the danger of snipers. This could be taken care of easily by buying up the surrounding buildings - although the Arabs selling those buildings would probably be killed by other Arabs objecting. So another scenario would be to buy the buildings, and pay for the owners to leave the country to a safer place. (Does anyone else sense how mindboggling this is? We have to worry about being killed going to a religious shrine, and in order to ensure our safety we have to not only pay to raze the surrounding buildings but we have to pay for the safety of the Arab owners!) Unfortunately this is par for the course for Jews in most places in the world - only in America is it a given that the Jews are (relatively) safe.

All of this effort would be worth it, to assert our natural right to visit the tomb of one of our ancestors, and to send the very important message that the Arabs can't get away with stopping us with the threat of violence.

I visited Joseph's tomb once. G-d willing I'll be able to take my kids there someday.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read about the damage that occurred at Joseph's tomb. I've read about the utter disregard the Palestinians showed towards the history and archaeology of the Temple Mount. Then I'm searching through web sites, I come across a Palestinian on making al these outlandish claims of Jews damaging sacred sites.
I read a reply from an eminent Professor of Archaeology in Israel in response to a baseless claim of damage being down to Archaeological sites, and the accusation that Jews were 'trying to create facts on the ground', the thoroughness of the Professor and his even handedness astounded me. Despite the Palestinians rather vitriolic attacks and accusations he was un flustered, he remained methodical and tore the accusations apart, the essay in it self was something to admire.

Its so sad that the respect is not both ways for religious monuments and historical sites.

I read/looked at a photographic essay by Muqata visiting a rarely visited burial site. It was almost incomprehensible the planning that had to go in to just visiting a sacred site.

I think it would be good for Israel to have Joseph's Tomb rebuilt/restored.
So much religous history has been watonly destroyed by the Palestinians it would be cathartic to see something 'renewed'.

Not to speak of the injustice of the Israeli soldier who died there.


5:45 PM, October 19, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This makes me so sad... I hope, too, that your children can visit Joseph's tomb. I hope someday I can, too.
Thanks for posting about this, wbm. There really are no words...

5:49 AM, October 20, 2006  
Blogger westbankmama said...

bagel blogger - It is against Jewish law to destroy a mosque - (with the notable exception if it is actively being used as a place for terrorists to fire) so I don't know where their claims come from.

regina - yes, we were all very angry and sad after this happened.

10:55 AM, October 20, 2006  
Blogger aliyah06 said...

Maybe we can reach a compromise: we take back Joseph's Tomb and the surrounding area, and they can have their 5th minaret....

BTW, on the subject of archeology: there are NO Jewish ruins in Israel, according to PA authorities--the entire purpose of the Antiquities Authority is to dummy up fakes and plant them to create a 'false' claim of Jewish history here.

Likewise forests: we don't plant forests to restore Israel's beauty and foliage. We deliberately plant forests to cover up the ruins of Palestinian villages we have destroyed.

Their lies infuriate me but like the professor mentioned above, all one can do is continue to tell people (and demonstrate where possible) that the Palestinians are lying liars with a genocidal agenda.

9:59 AM, October 22, 2006  
Blogger aliyah06 said...

P.S.-- I've thought of the buy-out idea myself but wonder if anyone has tried it: $500,000 to every Arab head of household who wishes to migrate out of Shomron and Judea to anywhere else in the we'd get some takers and it's cheaper than war....

10:02 AM, October 22, 2006  
Blogger westbankmama said...

aliyah06 - your idea of buying them out would work very well if they weren't afraid of being killed for it...

11:12 AM, October 22, 2006  
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