Egyptian Jewish community leader disagrees with ban on Rabbi festival

Earlier this week, an Egyptian court permanently banned a Jewish celebration that has taken place since the 1979 peace deal with Israel.

January 1, 2015 20:24
1 minute read.
Jacob Abu Hasira

Jacob Abu Hasira. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The head of the Egyptian Jewish community, Magda Haroun, criticized the move by an Egyptian court to permanently ban the three-day annual festival celebrating the birth of Rabbi Jacob Abu Hasira.

“The verdict is unconstitutional. The constitution stipulates rights for followers of the three monotheistic religions to perform their religious rituals,” Haroun told the Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry al-Youm, the Egyptian Independent reported on Tuesday.

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“I’m against the way Western Jews celebrate the festival by dancing and drinking, as this does not conform to our traditions as Egyptians and easterners,” she said.

An Egyptian court permanently banned a Jewish celebration that has taken place since the 1979 peace deal with Israel and asked the government to remove the tomb where it takes place from a list of official shrines, judicial sources said on Monday.

The court said its decision was due to “moral offenses” committed in previous years.

The Jewish community leader said, according to the report, that tensions at the tomb have been due to the failure of the public to differentiate between Judaism and Zionism.

Haroun, who is also known for her anti-Zionism, criticized anti-Israeli slogans shouted after the court verdict, saying, “What’s the relationship between Abu Hasira and the Zionist state? He was born and died even before it was established.”

In regard to the Egyptian rejection of Israel’s request to move the rabbi’s remains to Jerusalem, Haroun proclaimed, “I totally agree with this decision. He did not have [any] relation to the Zionist state.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

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