One-stop blog on Jews from Arab and Muslim Countries and the Middle East's forgotten Jewish refugees, updated daily
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Egypt bans Abuhatzeira shrine visits for good
CAIRO - An Egyptian court has 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, the JerusalemPost reports. Although the authorities have threatened to ban pilgrimages to this Moroccan rabbi"s shrine on previous occasions, this time the ban looks permanent. So much for official protestations that Egypt is not anti-Jewish, just anti-Zionist.
The court said its decision was due to "moral offenses" committed in previous years at the three-day festival celebrating the birth of Rabbi Jacob Abu Hasira. It did not elaborate on what the offenses were.
Jews, mostly from outside Egypt, have congregated every year at the 19th century tomb around Jan. 1 even though the festival was cancelled for security reasons after the 2011 uprising that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak.
Monday's ruling would make the ban permanent unless a higher court overturns it on appeal.
The court called for the government to reverse the 2001 recognition of the festival by state tourism officials and to remove the tomb in Egypt's Nile Delta region of Buheira from a list of recognized shrines.
Local residents have previously complained of the disruptive security presence that comes with the festival.
In just 50 years, almost a million Jews, whose communities stretch back up to 3,000 years, have been 'ethnically cleansed' from 10 Arab countries. These refugees outnumber the Palestinian refugees two to one, but their narrative has all but been ignored. Unlike Palestinian refugees, they fled not war, but systematic persecution. Seen in this light, Israel, where some 50 percent of the Jewish population descend from these refugees and are now full citizens, is the legitimate expression of the self-determination of an oppressed indigenous, Middle Eastern people. This website is dedicated to preserving the memory of the near-extinct Jewish communities, which can never return to what and where they once were - even if they wanted to. It will attempt to pass on the stories of the Jewish refugees and their current struggle for recognition and restitution. Awareness of the injustice done to these Jews can only advance the cause of peace and reconciliation. (Iran: once an ally of Israel, the Islamic Republic of Iran is now an implacable enemy and numbers of Iranian Jews have fallen drastically from 80,000 to 20,000 since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Their plight - and that of all other communities threatened by Islamism - does therefore fall within the scope of this blog.)