Five incoming MKs join worshipers at Joseph’s Tomb near Nablus in West Bank
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Five incoming MKs join worshipers at Joseph’s Tomb near Nablus in West Bank

Samaria regional council head says visit is ‘statement of unreserved support for the settlements’; IDF secures passage of visitors to flashpoint site

Incoming Knesset members pray at Joseph's Tomb near Nablus, West Bank Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan (C) Likud's Eti Atia (3rd R) Likud's Uzi Dayan (R) Likud's Ariel Kallner (5th L), Union of Right-Wing Parties incoming MK Idit Silman, on April 24, 2019 (Screen grab via Twitter)
Incoming Knesset members pray at Joseph's Tomb near Nablus, West Bank Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan (C) Likud's Eti Atia (3rd R) Likud's Uzi Dayan (R) Likud's Ariel Kallner (5th L), Union of Right-Wing Parties incoming MK Idit Silman, on April 24, 2019 (Screen grab via Twitter)

Five new members of the Knesset were among 1,400 worshipers who visited Joseph’s Tomb, outside the West Bank city of Nablus, overnight Wednesday.

Uzi Dayan, Eti Atiah, Ariel Kallner and Shlomo Karai (all from the Likud party) along with Idit Silman (Union of Right-Wing Parties) were among those who visited the holy site.

The five were accompanied by Samaria Regional Council chairman Yossi Dagan.

“This is a statement of unreserved support for the settlements, and we came here to pray that in this [Knesset] term we will be able to return to Joseph’s Tomb,” Dagan said, according to the Kan public broadcaster.

Silman expressed hope that the site would be returned to full Israeli control.

“We pray for the day when we can come here in broad daylight, and for sovereignty over this place as well,” Silman said.

Joseph’s Tomb is located inside Area A of the West Bank, which is officially under complete Palestinian Authority control, though the Israeli military conducts activities there. The IDF bars Israeli citizens from entering Area A without prior authorization. The IDF announced Wednesday morning that security forces had secured the passage of the worshipers to the site.

The site is venerated by Jews, Christians and Muslims, and has often been a flashpoint for sectarian violence. Jewish pilgrims are usually only allowed to visit the tomb once a month under heavy armed guard. During these visits, Palestinians routinely throw rocks at the troops, and sometimes attack them with Molotov cocktails and gunfire.

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