Egypt cancels Israeli pilgrimage to rabbi’s tomb

(JTA) – Egypt has cancelled an annual Jewish pilgrimage to the grave of a 19th-century Moroccan rabbi.

Dozens of Israeli pilgrims annually visit the grave of Rabbi Yaakov Abu Hasira, a 19th-century Moroccan rabbi whose tomb is in the Nile Delta, on the anniversary of his death.

Egypt’s decision came after Islamic groups threatened to harm the pilgrims, according to reports. Dozens of political parties and groups have joined this year’s call to cancel the pilgrimage, according to reports.

Residents of the village that is home to the tomb in the northern province of Beheira have repeatedly called for the end of the pilgrimage and have filed cases in court against it. The pilgrimage was agreed to in the 1979 peace treaty between the two countries, though the number of pilgrims has been limited

The relationship between Egypt and Israel has been steadily declining, most recently with the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak.

Abu Hasira was on his way to the Holy Land when his ship sank. He survived and made his way to Egypt, where he died in 1880.  
 

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