Rabbis seek protection for Jewish worshippers in Bethlehem

Sunday, January 20, 2013 |  Israel Today Staff

A number of prominent rabbis who oversee Jewish holy places in Israel issued a plea last week for the authorities to do more to protect Jewish worshippers from attacks by Palestinian mobs.

Most notably, Palestinian riots outside Rachel's Tomb on the northern outskirts of Bethlehem have grown unbearably violent of late.

The compound is believed to be the burial place of the biblical matriarch Rachel, and as such is an important holy site for Jews, hundreds of whom visit on a daily basis.

Palestinian Muslims reject the Jewish claims, and insist the site is a mosque, and therefore off-limits to Jews.

Several times in recent days, dozens of Palestinians have assaulted the tomb compound and the IDF base protecting it with stones and firebombs. Jewish worshippers have had to hide behind the thick walls as Israeli soldiers battle to disperse the rioters.

In a particularly violent confrontation at Rachel's Tomb on Friday, a slingshot-wielding Palestinian man was shot and wounded by Israeli soldiers.

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