Destruction of Joseph

Israel -- The destruction of the sacred burial site of the patriarch Joseph has left Israeli government officials indignant. The destruction comes at the wake of the 107the congress decision to bar all aid to the Palestinian authority, should they continue to vandalize Jewish artifacts.

Entry to the tomb of the patriarch Joseph, which is located in Nablus, has been forbidden since October 2002, due to Palestinian control of the city. The Jewish group; The Jewish group known as the Bratslave Hassidim continued to enter illegally, and found the destruction of the site, late February.

"The grave was pounded with hammers. The tree at the entrance is broken," Bratslav leader Aaron Klieger. Car parts and trash littered the tomb, which has a "huge hole in its dome," he added.

Seminary professor views the destruction as a tragic loss for students of biblical archaeology.

"It's a travesty to all humankind when traditional or archaeological sites are destroyed -- sites that are revered and respected-regardless of who does it in the name of science or war or anger," said Steve Andrews, professor of Old Testament and archaeology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo.

Israeli official, Natan Sharansky ties the destruction to extreme religious intolerance.

"We are talking about the tomb of one of the fathers of our nation," said Natan Sharansky, Israel's construction and housing minister. "I do not know who should be criticized more here, those who destroyed it, or ourselves for ignoring it."

Natan calls on the Israeli government to take action by publicizing details of the destruction.