An Egyptian court has banned the annual visit to the kever of the Abir Yaakov that was regularly attended by hundreds of Jews, mostly from Eretz Yisrael and Morocco.
After the 1979 peace treaty with Israel, Egypt began allowing organized trips to the tomb in the Nile Delta north of Cairo. The Culture Ministry declared the site an Egyptian monument.
Harav Yaakov Abuchatzeira, zt”l, often referred to as the Avir Yaakov after one of his many sefarim, was a prominent talmid chacham, kabbalist and leader in the Jewish community of Morocco during the 19th century. He was niftar in 1880 in the Egyptian town of Damanhur while en-route to Eretz Yisrael. Damanhur. wHarav Yaakov was the grandfather of Harav Yisrael Abuchatzeira, zt”l, the Baba Sali.
Over the past thirty years hundreds of Jews traveled regularly to Egypt for his yahrtzeit on 20 Teves.
Court orders did prevent Jews from visiting in 2001 and 2004, but the decisions were reversed by the Egyptian government on both occasions. Since the 2011 ousting of President Hosni Mubarak, and subsequent unrest, the trip has been cancelled due to security concerns.
The Administrative Court of Alexandria on Monday banned the visits and stripped the site’s official designation. It acted on a complaint filed by local residents. This ruling constitutes a permanent ban, unless overturned by a higher court.
With reporting from Associated Press