Home / Archaeology and History / Palestinian mob vandalizes Joshua’s Altar
joshua's altar paletinian
Dwight and Anita Widaman at Joshua's Altar in 2019.

Palestinian mob vandalizes Joshua’s Altar

Jewish and Christian groups are calling for more protection of archaeological sites after Arab rioters vandalized Joshua’s Altar.

The site, located on Mount Ebal, as documented in the Old Testament, is currently under joint Palestianian and Israeli control.

Joshua’s Altar on Mount Ebal. Credit: zstadler via Wikimedia Commons.

The altar dates to approximately 1,400 BC and the time of Joshua who had only recently led the Jewish people into the land after 40 years in the wilderness with Moses. The site, and archaeological remains found there like the Curse Tablet, prove the accuracy of the Biblical narrative as history. Palestinian and other Arab groups have long contended that Jews were not in the land until the 19th Century, contradicting even their own scholars.

altar vandalized

Graffiti at Joshua’s Altar on Mount Ebal in Samaria. Photo: Courtesy photo.

Israelis visiting the site documented then reported the damage which included tires having been burned in the center, spray paint, and the toppling of building stones. They also discovered a Palestinian flag flying at the location. This is not the first time the important site has been damaged. Previously, the local Palestinian Authority moved in bulldozers take the ancient stones to grind up and use for local road construction.

The site, in the center of Samaria, is one of the most important in Israel but also one of the leaset protected because of its proximity to Nablus, the headquarters for the Palestinian Authority.

Struggle for Every Dunam, an Israeli group calling for additional security measures of the site, says it is in direct relation to the Israeli government not having a sufficient presence in area.

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“Unfortunately, Jewish and Christian holy places are repeatedly targeted by Muslim settlers, such as 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,” Rev. Petra Heldt, a leading Christian scholar who has lived in Israel for 40 years, told Fox News News.

“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. Therefore, this holy place must be secured, like other holy places in Israel, from Palestinian vandalism.”

“The grave incident that took place this week is a direct result of the lack of Jewish presence on this hill,” the organization said in a statement. “Today, it is clearer than ever that only the fixed Jewish presence of a farm or town will guarantee there is really control over the site, and prevent further damage or destruction of the altar.”

Last year, reports JNS.org, “Defense Minister Yoav Gallant pledged that Israel would not allow Palestinians to damage archaeological sites in Judea and Samaria. Israel has prevented the Palestinians from carrying out construction work on a new neighborhood near Mount Ebal.”

Some Christian tour groups, like the tours sponsored by this website, visit the site with an IDF escort. Jews are not suppose to visit it without military protection.

In October, more than 10,000 Jews and Christians marched to the site to bring attention to the lack of security at major Biblical sites.

–Dwight Widaman with JNS.org and other news services.

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