Israeli Arrested in Egypt

An Israeli citizen was arrested by Egyptian authorities after crossing the border into Sinai, according to Arutz Sheva, quoting the Palestinian Ma’an news service on Sunday.

According to the report, the Israeli is Jewish, a resident of Tel Aviv who said that he had planned to visit the grave of Rabbi Yaakov Abuchatzeirah in the town of Damanhour. He said he intended to leave Egypt for Morocco after the visit. He is being held by Egyptian authorities, who have made no decision yet on what to do with him, the report said.

The man reportedly infiltrated through the Taba crossing but was arrested when he tried to enter Egypt. He did not have a visa or any identification papers.

Israeli officials have not confirmed the story but said they were checking into it.

Damanhour has been an important pilgrimage site for North African Jews for over 100 years. Rabbi Yaakov Abuchatzeirah was the grandfather of the famed Baba Sali.

Until 2012, thousands of Jews from Israel traveled to Damanhour annually. But the Egyptian government stopped the visits in 2012, claiming that the sight of so many Jews was “offensive to Egyptians.”