The Israel Defense Forces discovered spray-painted swastikas on one of the walls of the Joseph's Tomb compound in the West Bank early on Thursday morning.
An IDF patrol, arriving at the holy site on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Nablus ahead of the arrival of Jewish worshippers, found the graffiti swastikas and covered them with white paint.
Soon after, dozens of buses holding thousands of worshippers arrived at Joseph's Tomb to pray ahead of the Yom Kippur fast, which starts on Friday evening.
Head of the Samaria regional council, Gershon Mesika, said in response to the vandalism that "only barbarians would be able to commit such terrible acts."
"People who can pathologically desecrate such a holy site are not worthy of being called human beings," Mesika said.
Also responding to the act, head of the Yesha Council of Settlements, Danny Dayan said that the "desecration of Joseph's Tomb in Nablus, during the holiest days of the Jewish calendar, is a horrific act, that cannot be ignored."
"Today…11 years since the abandonment of the tomb out of weakness into the hands of extremist Islam in Nablus, comes a time to take a decision on a return to the compound out of a sense of national pride and strength," Dayan said.
"I call on cabinet ministers who have yet to do so to visit Joseph's Tomb and witness the humiliating and insufferable reality in which Joseph's Tomb has existed for too long," he added.
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