Israelis Flock to Egypt for Jewish Festival amid Protests

(Al-Arabiya-Dubai) Mustafa Suleiman - The announcement of the arrival of 550 Jewish pilgrims from Israel, Europe, and the U.S. to Cairo to commemorate Rabbi Abuhasira, a Moroccan Jew who died in the village of Damatiuh, outside the Nile Delta city of Damanhour, stirred fury of village residents, civil organizations, and political parties. The Muslim Brotherhood, the You Will Not Cross My Land campaign, and the opposition parties of al-Ghad and al-Karama announced plans to protest on Jan. 6 in front of the Damanhour Courts Complex against holding the festival. Residents of the governorate of al-Behira, in which the village in located, collected one million signatures and filed several lawsuits against the event, and the Supreme Administrative Court issued a verdict in 2001 that cancelled the celebration and annulled the decision of Culture Minister Farouk Hosni to consider the Abuhasira shrine a national heritage site. Dr. Emad Gad, head of the Israeli Studies Division at al-Ahram Center for Strategic Studies, said, "If the event is banned, the Jewish lobby in the United States will launch a severe campaign against Egypt, and the United States might accuse Egypt of religious intolerance." The peace treaty between Egypt and Israel stipulates freedom of movement between the two countries and that is why it is impossible to prevent Israelis from entering Egypt, said Judge Mohamed al-Bayoumi.

2010-12-31 08:33:38

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