In a September, 2008 interview with the Jewish Voice and Opinion of Englewood, NJ, Gov. Sarah Palin expressed detailed interest in the importance of access to religious sites in Israel, particularly in the disputed territories of Judea and Shomron – the “West Bank,” in diplomatic parlance.

This week, the Jerusalem Post reported on developments at two of the most important of those sites, the tomb of the Biblical patriarch Joseph, who is buried in Schechem (Nablus), and the matriarch Rachel, buried at Bet Lechem (Bethlehem).

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Over 300 people to pray

at the renovated holy site,

destroyed by Palestinians in 2000

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Jonah Mandel

Jerusalem Post

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A new tombstone was recently laid at [the Biblical patriarch] Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus, bringing the renovations of the site that was sacked by a Palestinian mob 10 years ago nearly to their end.

Over 300 Jews from across Israel were set to make the pilgrimage to pray at the holy site overnight Monday.

This is a moving, historic movement, a minor amelioration of the disgrace of abandoning Joseph’s Tomb,” Samaria Regional Council chairman Gershon Mesika said early on Sunday morning, after the new five-ton tombstone was carefully placed in the exact location of the stone that was vandalized in October 2000.

The operation was the work of Samaria’s regional and religious councils, the Shechem Echad (One Nablus) organization, the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria and IDF. Brig.- Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the head of the the civil administration, attended the complicated engineering endeavor.

There is no nation in the world that would allow such a holy, symbolic and historic place to it to be violated like Joseph’s Tomb,” Mesika said. He proceeded to thank the IDF for the aid in the renovation.

Mesika called upon the government to once more enable an ongoing Jewish presence at Joseph’s Tomb. The Oslo Accords give Israel sovereignty over the holy site.

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KEVER RACHEL – The Tomb of Rachel

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60,000, mostly women,

expected to mark Rachel’s yahrtzeit

at Bethlehem tomb

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Jerusalem Post

Thousands of people began arriving at Rachel’s Tomb in northern Bethlehem at sundown on Monday, to mark the anniversary of the matriarch’s death, 11 Heshvan.

Rabbi Yosef Shvinger, director of the National Center for Holy Sites, said he expected around 60,000 people to arrive for prayers, mostly women.

One of Jacob’s wives, Rachel died after giving birth to Benjamin, and her grave draws barren women asking for children and pregnant women praying for an easy birth.

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Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the head of Shas’s Council of Torah Sages, visited the site overnight Sunday, accompanied by Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites Shmuel Rabinovitch as well as Shas’s chairman Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Construction and Housing Minister Ariel Attias.

Shvinger, who also came, said Yosef asked to visit the site after not being there for years. Yosef broke out in tears almost immediately after beginning to pray at the gravesite for divine mercy for all of Israel, Shvinger said.

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