Egypt cancels annual pilgrimage to rabbi's grave

Trek by devout Israelis to tomb of Rabbi Yaakov Abuhatzeira in the Nile Delta called off by Egypt's military authorities amid instability in country; last year, signs reading "Death to Jews" greeted pilgrims.

January 11, 2012 19:14
1 minute read.
Pilgrims at grave of Rabbi Abuhatzeira in Egypt

abir yaakov grave Abuhatzeira egypt 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Egypt has canceled the annual pilgrimage from Israel to the tomb of the Rabbi Yaakov Abuhatzeira in the Nile Delta because of the country's current instability, the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram reported on its website Wednesday.

According to the report, local authorities in the governorate where the shrine is located advised the military authorities to cancel the pilgrimage, scheduled for later this week to mark the anniversary of his the rabbi's death (yahrzeit).

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Tunisia cancels Jewish pilgrimage for first time
Violence feared ahead of yearly pilgrimage to Uman
'Islamist success in Egypt puts Israel in peril'

Abuhatzeira, also known as the Abir Yaakov, was a 19th century rabbi and mystic who lived in Morocco, and died near Alexandria on a trip to the Land of Israel toward the end of the 19th century. He is buried some 150 kilometers north of Cairo.

Abuhatzeira was the grandfather of the Baba Sali, the noted kabalist who died in 1984 and is buried in Netivot.

Pilgrimages from Israel to the site in Egypt began after the 1979–peace treaty with Israel, but in recent years has been a source of controversy.

Following the outbreak of the second intifada in September 2000, the ceremony was banned by Egyptian courts in 2001 and 2004. Again in 2008, various Egyptian parliamentarians and activists lobbied the government to prevent the pilgrimages, saying the visitors behaved in a "provocative" manner.

 In 2009, just after Operation Cast Lead, the Egyptian authorities again barred the pilgrimage altogether.

The following year, after the pilgrimage was renewed, the Egyptian authorities arrested 25 Muslim extremists suspected of planning to attack Israelis attending the event. The plans were foiled by Egyptian security officials.  That year the Egyptians limited the visas for those going to the grave to some 500, considerably less than the thousands granted in previous years.

And last year, signs reading  "Death to the Jews" greeted the 550 Israelis who made the trek. The pilgrimage was accompanied by a campaign by opposition parties against allowing "Zionists" into the country.

Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
August 31, 2014
Prime minister to Channel 1: I’ll be running again in next election

By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN