Thousands visit West Bank holy sites in predawn pilgrimages
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Thousands visit West Bank holy sites in predawn pilgrimages

Some 15,000 religious Jews travel to Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs, while 1,500 visit Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus for pre-Yom Kippur prayers

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

Thousands of religious Jews visit the Tomb of the Patriarchs holy site in the West Bank city of Hebron on September 17, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)
Thousands of religious Jews visit the Tomb of the Patriarchs holy site in the West Bank city of Hebron on September 17, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

Roughly 15,000 Jews visited the Tomb of the Patriarchs holy site in the West Bank city of Hebron on Sunday night and early Monday morning ahead of the upcoming Yom Kippur holiday.

Each year, during the period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur — known as the 10 days of repentance — thousands of Jews make a pilgrimage to the site, believed to be the burial place of the Jewish patriarchs and matriarchs Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah, and also Adam and Eve.

At the Tomb of the Patriarchs, the pilgrims said a special prayer service known as Selichot.

The Israeli military and police provided security during the visit.

Israeli troops provide security as thousands of religious Jews visit the Joseph’s Tomb holy site in the West Bank city of Nablus on September 17, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

“IDF soldiers, along with Border Police and Israel Police forces provided increased security for the event, guarded the prayer and allowed it to take place safely, with no irregular incidents,” the army said.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, more than 15,000 people visited the site from Sunday night to Monday morning, some 5,000 more than the previous year.

In addition, approximately 1,500 people visited the Joseph’s Tomb holy site in the West Bank city of Nablus for Selichot prayers.

“The prayers were held with no irregular incidents,” the army said.

Thousands of religious Jews visit the Joseph’s Tomb holy site in the West Bank city of Nablus on September 17, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

Elsewhere in the West Bank, Israeli forces conducted a series of predawn raids, arresting 10 Palestinian suspects, according to the IDF.

Israeli troops raided the family home of a Palestinian teen who stabbed an Israeli man to death in a West Bank terror attack the day before. Soldiers searched the home of Khalil Jabarin in the village of Yatta, measured it in order to prepare it for demolition and questioned members of his family.

On Sunday morning Jabarin, 17, stabbed and killed Ari Fuld, 45, at a shopping center frequented by Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank south of Jerusalem.

Fuld, a dual Israeli and US citizen and father of four, lived in the nearby settlement of Efrat and was well known in media and Israel advocacy circles for his online activism.

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