A group of Palestinian rioters vandalized Joshua’s Altar in the West Bank, a site revered by millions of Jews and Christians.
The altar, which is located at Mount Ebal, was damaged after the rioters burned tires on its remains and spray-painted Palestinian flags and Arabic inscriptions on the stones last week, according to a report in the Jerusalem Post.
According to a report from TPS, the site is under joint control with the Palestinian Authority and has been the target of vandalism on numerous occasions, part of a larger problem of attacks on Israeli archaeological sites under Palestinian control.
“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 Digital. “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 site was later visited by Israeli activists from the Forum for the Struggle for Every Dunam, who called on Israel to do more to protect sacred Israeli sites.
“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, according to the TPS report. “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.”
Heldt expressed a similar sentiment, noting the altar’s importance to the Jewish people and calling for greater measures to protect the sacred site.
“The altar goes back to the time of Joshua (1400 BC) who led the Jewish people from exile into the Promised Land,” Heldt said. “It is immediately necessary that the site should get proper protection from such vandalism. A permanent Jewish presence established on and around Mount Ebal will permanently secure that holy place for Jews and Christians.”