FILE- A group of Jewish pilgrims visit the shrine of Jewish-Moroccan Rabbi Yaakov Abuhatzeira in the Egyptian city of Damanhour in Beheira governorate (Delta)- Youm7
CAIRO 26 September 2020: The Egyptian Supreme Administrative Court upheld a 2014 court ruling of preventing the transport of the remains of Jewish-Moroccan Rabbi Yaakov Abuhatzeira in the Egyptian city of Damanhour in Beheira governorate (Delta) during his journey to Palestine in 1880] to Israel.
In its ruling on Saturday, the administrative court affirmed that Egypt is a country of religious tolerance and it is impermissible to transfer the remains of a Jewish rabbi to Israel because believers of the Abrahamic religions enjoy all rights in Egypt.”
“The transfer of the remains of the Jewish Rabbi Abuhatzeira from Egypt to Israel is inconsistent with Islam’s tolerance,” the ruling says.
In December 2014, the Administrative Court of Alexandria banned -for “"moral offenses”- the annual festivities, previously attended by hundreds of Jews at Abuhatzeira’s gravesite during the period between December 26 and January 2 in the Nile Delta city of Damanhur, where the rabbi was buried in 1880 en route to Israel.
The Alexandria court also ruled that the remains of Abuhatzeira shall not be tranfered to Israel and the shrine shall be written off from the list of the Egyptian Antiquities to annul the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities’ 1981decision considers the shrine and hill suurounding it as antiques. The authorized minister shall inform the UNESCO that the shrine and the surrounding hill are not anqtiues anymore.
Yaakov Abuhatzeira was a Moroccan-Jewish rabbi of the 19th century. In 1880, Abuhatzeira left his native Morocco and embarked on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land via Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. While passing through the Egyptian Nile Delta city of Damanhour, he grew ill and died. He was buried in Damanhour, where his tomb has become a site of pilgrimage.
In January 2018, a group of 12 Rabbis secretly visited the tomb of Abuhatzeira in very intensified security measures. In 2017, the former Israeli ambassador to Egypt David Govrin visited his tomb. Following the 2011 uprising, the annual festivals have not been held.