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(JTA) — Israeli pilgrims to the grave of a 19th-century Moroccan rabbi are flocking to Egypt amid tight security.
Dozens arrived on Sunday and hundreds more were expected Monday, according to the independent Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm.
They are commemorating the anniversary of the death of Abu Hasira, a 19th-century Moroccan rabbi whose tomb is in the Nile Delta.
Egyptian media reports that opposition groups are staging protests against the pilgrimage. Security measures have been tightened, and some 3,000 security officers are ringing the area to prevent violence.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak last year acceded to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s request to permit the pilgrimage and festival, according to Israeli reports. Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court recently upheld a lower court decision to ban the event made in 2001, the Egyptian newspaper reported.
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. His tomb is the site of an annual pilgrimage.