Settlers allege that Palestinians vandalized the tomb of the biblical Calev Ben Yefuna, which is located in the West Bank village of Kifl Haris, just outside of the Ariel settlement.
Jewish worshipers who went to the tomb saw swastikas and Arabic writing scrawled on the walls inside the small stone building and on the raised cement encasement over the grave.
“It pains the heart,” said Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, whose spokeswoman distributed photos of the tomb and a small video to the media.
“We’re talking about the defamation of a holy place,” Dagan said.
Kifl Haris is located in a portion of Samaria known as Area B, under the civil control of the Palestinian Authority.
Twice a year, the IDF arranges safe midnight passage for worshipers to visit the village, where the tombs of the biblical Joshua and his father Nun are also located.
According to the Book of Numbers, Joshua and Calev were the only two, out of 12 spies sent to scout out the land, who believed that God would give the Jewish people the strength to conquer the Land of Israel.
This is not the first time that vandals, who were apparently Palestinian, have vandalized Jewish tombs, including the nearby tomb of Joshua and the tomb of Joseph in Nablus.
But the use of a swastika makes this a “serious and blatant incident,” Dagan said.
“I expect to hear wall-to-wall condemnations, just as we would if the sanctity of a Christian or Muslim site was destroyed,” Dagan said.
He added that he expected the government and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to find a way to safeguard these ancient and historical Jewish sites.
“The Palestinian Authority is not capable and is not willing to safeguard these holy Israeli sites, so sovereign Israel must do so,” Dagan said. “Even if that means the de-facto restoration of sovereignty over the area.”
The police had no comment on the incident.