Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pilgrimage cancellation 'disrespects' all Jews

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, which monitors antisemitism worldwide, has vigorously denounced Egypt's cancellation of the annual pilgrimage to Rabbi Hatzeira's tomb in the Nile delta near Alexandria as a sign of disrespect for Jews, dead or alive, according to Haaretz. (With thanks: Lily)

Egypt's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday it had told Israel that it would not be "appropriate" for Israeli pilgrims to make an annual visit to the tomb of a 19th-century Jewish holy man in the Nile Delta, as activists mobilized to block the pilgrimage route.

Ceremonies at the tomb of Rabbi Yaakov Abu Hatzira have triggered yearly political sparring in Egypt throughout most of the last decade, with Islamists, nationalists, and others claiming that the government by allowing the pilgrimage is pursuing an unpopular policy of normalization with the country's former enemy.

 Rabbi Yaakov Abuhatzeira

Jewish pilgrims at the tomb of Rabbi Yaakov Abuhatzeira in Egypt, December 1999..

Photo by: AP / Archive

Egypt notified Israel two months ago that it would be "impossible to hold the annual ceremony because of the political and security situation in the country," the official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

An Islamist politician involved in organizing protests against the march meanwhile said that visiting Abu Hatzira's gravesite in the village of Daymouta, 180 kilometers (112 miles) north of Cairo would be a "suicide mission" for Israelis, because of popular opposition to their presence in Egypt.

"Normalization (of relations) with Israel is forced on the people, and the visits too come against the will of the people and despite popular rejection," said Gamal Heshmat of the Muslim Brotherhood, the country's best organized political group.

Heshmat said that activists planned to stage sit-ins and other protests to block the route as soon as they hear the pilgrims are on their way. Egypt's daily Al-Ahram newspaper reported Tuesday that 31 parties and groups had joined this year's campaign.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights organization based in Los Angeles, denounced the attempts to block the pilgrimage. In a Tuesday statement, the center's Abraham Cooper accused the Brotherhood of trying to "curb religious freedom of Jews."

"In their worldview, there is no respect for the traditions for Jews, dead or alive," he said.

Read article in full


Jerusalem Post article

Washington Post

Ynet News (Associated Press)

Elder of Ziyon

Revenue sacrificed to anti-Israel vendetta (Commentary blog - with thanks: Eliyahu)

Israel has complained to UNESCO (Rosa El-Yussef - with thanks: Michelle Malca)

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why is this surprising?
We were a mall group of "oldies" wanting to pray in our synagogue. The tickets in our hands and the hotel reservations as well.
But we were told that the trip was cancelled becuase they claimed that we were going to Egypt to ask for compensations. How ridiculous was this?
some of the people in the group lost a lot of money coming over from the Ststes, they had nof foreseen such a smack on the face.
Never again!
sultana Latifa

bataween said...

I remember the episode you describe, Suzy
http://jewishrefugees.blogspot.com/2008/05/cancellation-of-egyptian-roots-trip.html

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

Here is another article on this subject:
http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/01/12/egypt-rulers-revenue-anti-israel-vendetta/

MK Gross said...

Perhaps Morocco will object: one of its deceased citizens is under siege.

http://www.wiesenthal.com/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=lsKWLbPJLnF&b=4441467&ct=11581725

http://whc.unesco.org/en/158
How to help?
The States Parties to the Convention should inform the Committee as soon as possible about threats to their sites. On the other hand, private individuals, non-governmental organizations, or other groups may also draw the Committee's attention to existing threats. If the alert is justified and the problem serious enough, the Committee may consider including the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

To inform the World Heritage Committee about threats to sites, you may contact the Committee's Secretariat at:

World Heritage Centre
UNESCO
7, place de Fontenoy
75352 Paris 07 SP
France

Tel.: 33 (01) 45 68 18 71
Fax: 33 (01) 45 68 55 70
E-mail: wh-info@unesco.org

bataween said...

Michelle
Thanks for the lin to the Wiesenthal press release which I have now included in the text.
Apparently an Egyptian paper called Rosa el-Yussef reported that Israel has already complained to UNESCO.