Hasidim arrested after illegal visit to West Bank holy site
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Hasidim arrested after illegal visit to West Bank holy site

IDF rescues Bratslav sect members who went to Joshua’s Tomb, came under attack by residents of Palestinian village

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

The Tomb of Joshua holy site in the Palestinian village of Kifl Hares. (Shuki/Wikimedia/CC BY 2.5)
The Tomb of Joshua holy site in the Palestinian village of Kifl Hares. (Shuki/Wikimedia/CC BY 2.5)

Police arrested a group of Hasidic Jews who traveled without escort to the Joshua’s Tomb holy site in the Palestinian village of Kifl Hares early Thursday morning and came under attack by local residents, authorities said.

According to the IDF, 10 members of the Bratslav sect “illegally entered” the village, southwest of Nablus, after midnight on Thursday in order to visit a site that is traditionally believed to be the burial place of the biblical figure Joshua.

At some point during their visit, the men were attacked by residents of the village, who hurled rocks at them and their car.

“IDF troops arrived at the tomb to escort the worshipers safely out of the village,” an army spokesperson said.

Once the soldiers got them out, they handed the 10 men over to police for further questioning, the army said.

Israeli citizens are not allowed to enter parts of the West Bank under Palestinian Authority security control — known as Area A — without escort or prior authorization, as such incursions often result in violence, like in this case.

On Thursday morning, the 10 men were brought before a Petah Tikva court for an initial hearing. They are suspected of violating a general’s order, threatening public safety and interfering with public work, police said.

“Every few weeks, the IDF regional brigade allows an organized and guarded visit to the tomb; any entrance without prior coordination presents a risk and a violation of the law,” police said in a statement.

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