For the third time this month, Muslims visiting the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron have desecrated Jewish religious objects, stealing Mezuzahs after tearing them off the doorposts. The vandals took advantage of the special visiting privileges that Muslims receive during the month of Ramadan. During this time, the Tomb of the Patriarchs is open only for Muslims on Fridays and other special dates.
Local police announced that they have arrested two Palestinians in connection with the vandalism, but that they are still searching for the thieves. The vandalism was recorded by surveillance cameras, and a member of the Muslim Waqf authority that oversees Muslim religious sites was nearby during the act of sabotage.
Authorities have resolved to limit Palestinian access to the site in response to these repetitive attacks. Muslims aged 18 to 35 will not be allowed to enter on the special days allocated for only Muslim visitors. The authorities further stated that they would be taking further actions to prevent such attacks in the future.
Following the previous attack, Knesset member Orit Struk, a resident of Hebron, told Tazpit News Agency: “The Arabs took the opportunity they had on Friday to desecrate the Mezuzot. We cannot be silent about this incident. During the 700 years of Muslim occupation, the Tomb of the Patriarchs was completely closed to Jews. Today, when the State of Israel is considerate of Muslims holidays and enables them full use of the site – they exploit it to harm Jewish symbols. I expect the Muslim leaders in Hebron and Israel to apologize to the Jewish People and condemn this heinous episode.”