As the IDF restricts Jewish access to Joseph's Tomb (Kever Yosef), a small group of determined Jews are finding creative ways to reach the holy site anyway, according to the IDF magazine B'Machaneh.For some reason no one is asking the question of why access to a Jewish holy site is restricted to begin with, in violation of the 1995 Oslo interim accords which called for "free, unimpeded and secure access to the relevant Jewish holy site[s]."
Members of the Breslov chassidic sect told the magazine that they have taken to bribing Palestinian Authority officers in an attempt to gain access.
“Once we saw that the Palestinians now have control over the tomb, we understood that we would need to act differently than before,” a chassid who went by “M” said.
“There was a certain period where nobody tried to sneak in, because we had an arrangement with the IDF,” he continued. However, he said, “Recently our cooperation with them has dwindled, and we started to feel like we were being shut out.”
“We did everything we could... but there's been a change in our relation with the army and until things change, we're going to keep working with the PA police,” he concluded.
Another Breslov man said of the PA officers, “They are still our enemies, this is cooperation solely for an important purpose. We aren't afraid of them, and we know Shechem [Nablus] better than we know our own houses.”
Leaders in the Breslov community said they believe the illegal entry to Joseph's Tomb will stop once relations between the community and the IDF are restored.
An IDF captain in the region said the Breslov chassidim in particular enter the area despite the general prohibition on Jewish access because the community “seeks out challenges” and has “a strong desire to get into Joseph's Tomb privately.” The captain said IDF officers had asked their PA counterparts to look into the issue.
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