Court orders cancelation of Jewish Abu Hasira celebration in Beheira
The annual Jewish ceremony of Abu Hasira - YOUM7

CAIRO: The Administrative Court ordered irreversibly the cancelation of the annual Jewish ceremony of Abu Hasira that used to be held in the Delta governorate of Beheira, Youm7 reported Monday.

Rabbi Yaakov Abuhatzeira, also known as the Abir Yaakov and Abu Hasira, was buried in Beheira in 1880. Abuhatzeira was a leading Moroccan-Jewish Rabbi. He died in 1880 while traveling through Egypt on a pilgrimage to Israel and his tomb has become a site of pilgrimage, especially amongst Israeli, Moroccan and French tourists.

The next ceremony at the site would have been on Jan. 10 in 2015 to correspond with the Hebrew calendar date of the 19th of Tevet, but the ceremony has not been held at the site since the 2011 January 25 Revolution due to security reasons. Many Beheira residents had also long already objected to the Abu Hasira celebrations.

The Administrative Court in its decision also decided to delist the Abu Hasira tomb from the protected Egyptian monuments list, and demanded UNESCO do the same. In doing so, the court refused a previous Israeli request to relocate the tomb to Jerusalem.

Israel issued a request to Egypt through UNESCO demanding the tomb be relocated to East Jerusalem. However, the court, headed by Judge Mohamed Abd Al-Wahab, said the request was not consistent with Islamic principles and that it was a “unilateral” demand that ignored Egyptian authority, ONA reported Monday.

In 2001, then-Culture Minister Farouq Housni actually decided to list the Abu Hasira tomb among Islamic and Coptic monuments despite its Jewish background to keep it protected.

Although once a large community, today Egyptian Jews are a shadow of their former population since the establishment of Israel in the 1940s. Prior to the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, they numbered as many as 75,000, but were largely expelled by the government or left willingly by the late 1950s as Egypt-Israel relations continued to sour.

In November, Egyptian Jewish community leader Magda Haroun told ONTV the current number of Egyptian Jews is down to only 11, and most left following the Suez Canal War against Israel, Britain and France in 1956.

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