Saturday 26 of November, 2022
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Egypt Cancels Jewish Celebration, Declassifies Rabbi Shrine

The annual festivities that see Jews flock to Beheira to visit the shrine of Moroccan Rabbi Abu Hasira have been cancelled, while religious authorities have moved to remove its classification as a religious monument all together...

Staff Writer

The shrine of Abu Hasira - a lauded Moroccan Rabbi that is said to have been buried in Egypt when he passed away in 1880 - has long been an important site for Jewish pilgrims who have flocked for a very unique celebration in the rural town of Damanhour in the Beheira governorate. Every year on the 19th of Tevet (a Judaic calendar month) hundreds of Jews, mostly from Israel, travel to the shrine and adjoined cemetery are the site of festivities and prayers. However, today the Administrative Court of Alexandria banned the visits acted on a complaint filed by "local residents who objected to the mingling of men and women and the consumption of alcohol at the festival," according to the Associated Press.

Locals have often objected to the festivities, refusing to normalise relations with Israelis. Though this is not the first time Egyptian authorities have blocked the festivities (having done so in 2001 and 2012), they have also moved to declassify the site as a religious antiquity, while also refusing to transfer the shrine to Israel as it undermines Islamic teachings which forbid the exhuming of graves, according to Al Ahram.