Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Egyptian Court Bans Jewish Pilgrimage Festival To Moroccan Rabbi's Grave

In Egypt on Monday, the Administrative Court of Alexandria banned an annual Jewish religious pilgrimage that has been held since 1979 to the grave of the Moroccan rabbi Yaakov Abu Hatzira. The grave, in the Nile Delta, was declared an Egyptian cultural monument by the government in 2001. AP and World Bulletin report on the court's action not only banning the annual festival that honors Abu Hatzira's birth, but also ordering that the shrine be removed from the list of Egyptian antiquities and barring the removal of Abu Hatzira's remains to Israel as Israel had requested through UNESCO.  The annual festival which has drawn hundreds of Jews each year from Israel, Morocco and France has been controversial. The court's action came in response to a complaint filed by local residents objecting to the mingling of men and women at the festival and the consumption of alcohol. They also contended that security for the festival was disruptive to them.