About 150 Palestinian Arabs on Thursday night arrived at the Kever Yosef compound in Shechem to set it on fire.
IDF soldiers who arrived at the scene surrounded the compound and used protest dispersal means to chase away the Palestinians, who began throwing rocks and firebombs at the soldiers.
The soldiers were able to extinguish the flames. Initial reports indicated that damage was caused to the women’s prayer area. There were no injuries.
The IDF said that it will repair the site in order to allow worshipers to enter. Furthermore, the military’s statement said that this incident is being viewed with the utmost severity, adding that it will work to identify and stop the arsonists.
Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman responded to the incident, saying “This arson shows that the Palestinian Authority’s occupation is no different than that of Islamic State,” he said. He said that Palestinians are being incited by the lies of PA president Mahmoud Abbas, killing Israelis with machetes and knives “and now burning holy and historical sites, just like Islamic State is doing in Iraq and Syria.”
He said this act was inspired by the lies of Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas.
This incident came following a day of relative calm in Israel after several weeks of increased violence attacks across the country. On Thursday night Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to stop inciting Palestinians to attack Israelis with knives and axes, in a press conference given in Jerusalem.
“Abu Mazen [Abbas] is inciting murder,” Netanyahu charged as he called on the international community to stop excusing the Palestinian leader’s actions.
Kever Yosef came under attack in May 2000, during which it was destroyed and burned by Palestinian Arabs. It was eventually restored and, since that time, Jews regularly visit the site and pray there.
A year ago, Palestinians tried to set fire to the compound, but were dispersed by the Palestinian security forces.
A few hours later, a terrorist wearing the yellow garb of a photojournalist stabbed an IDF soldier on Friday, at the Hazayit checkpoint near Chevron.
The terrorist attacker was reportedly shot dead immediately, and the victim was evacuated for treatment in moderate condition.