Jewish worshipers found swastikas and graffiti spray-painted on the outer walls of the tomb of Joshua bin Nun in the northern West Bank early Thursday morning, officials said.
The Samaria Regional Council said that roughly 1,000 Israelis had arrived at the holy site in the village of Kifl Haris, northwest of the Ariel settlement, to pray and study Jewish texts on what they believe to be the anniversary of the death of Moses, Joshua’s predecessor.
Samaria Regional Council chairman Yossi Dagan, who accompanied the worshipers Thursday morning, referred to the vandalism a “hate crime,” and called on security forces to apprehend those responsible.
“This is a serious event. The tomb of Joshua Bin Nun is a holy site with historic importance of the first order,” he said.
Other than the graffiti, the mass visit to the site passed without incident.
The site was the location of clashes between Palestinians and IDF troops, which took place when Jewish worshipers were last there in late December.
A statement from the army spokesman at the time said that soldiers were securing the area when Palestinians began hurling stones and Molotov cocktails at them.
There were no reports of injuries and prayers were completed without incident.