Palestinians Desecrate Sacred Jewish / Christian Site

Palestinian rioters in the Middle East have vandalized Joshua’s Alter – a site revered by both Christians and Jews. The altar is situated on Mount Ebal in the West Bank and was damaged with spray-painted Arabic inscriptions and Palestinian flags. The Palestinian Authority administers the Mount Ebal region, and the altar has come under attack on several previous occasions, along with other historic and archeologically significant sites under Palestinian control.

Rev. Petra Heldt, a Christian scholar who lives in Israel, said, “It is a consistent pattern that shows that there is a wish to eliminate the existence of Jewish and Christian history in Eretz Israel, the historic land of the Jewish people.”

Similarly, Israeli police reported in January that dozens of Christian graves had been desecrated at a cemetery on Jerusalem’s Mount Zion. The site is said to be where Jesus and his disciples sat for the Last Supper. Officials say around 30 graves, mostly Christian, were vandalized with gravestones broken and pushed over. Chief Superintendent Assaf Harel said an 18-year-old and a 14-year-old were later arrested for the crime.

Rev. Heldt named further historical and religiously significant sites that have been targeted recently, including “the Tomb of Rachel near Bethlehem, the Tombs of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Lea, and Rebecca in Hebron, the Tomb of Josef in Shechem (Nablus) and many others.”

Joshua’s Altar is mentioned in Deuteronomy and the Book of Joshua and served as the altar where Joshua sacrificed animals to God. Its location was unknown until 1980 when University of Haifa archeologist Adam Zertal discovered it. The site is not fenced off or sign-posted, but some Israelis want that to change.

Likud MK Uzi Dayan, a former Israeli Defense Force commander, explained that the site is an area once under IDF control, but map changes placed it under the authority of Palestinians. Dayan campaigns to have it reclassified and, therefore, brought under IDF protection again. He also wants it marked as an archaeological site.