The Arab Spring is turning into an Arab Winter for Israeli and Diaspora Jews.
For the first time in recent history, Egypt has decided to completely bar Jews from visiting the tomb of Rabbi Yaakov Abuhatzeira, head of the dynasty that included Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzeira, the famed “Baba Sali.”
The decision, issued by regional ruler Mukhtar el-Hamlawi, was reported by the Palestinian Authority news agency Wafa.
El-Hamlawi reported that a Cairo court had ruled that celebrations are forbidden at the tomb, and Jewish visitors would be barred for that reason.
In addition, he said, “We prohibit Jews from visiting the tomb because we identify with the Palestinian people, and because we do not want to offend the Egyptian public’s sensitivities.”
Egyptian opposition parties, led by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, attempted to prevent Israeli Jews from visiting the rabbi’s tomb in 2009.
While then-President Hosni Mubarak agreed to allow the visits, the pilgrimage was cancelled for the first time as opposition parties vowed to prevent Jews from visiting.
Mubarak continued to allow Israelis to visit, and even announced in 2010 that he would grant an unlimited number of permits.
Since Mubarak’s ouster in early 2011, Salafi Islam has been on the rise, while the Jew-hating Muslim Brotherhood has been gaining political power.
The changes have led to security anarchy in Sinai, an extremely high terror alert for Israeli visitors, and persecution of religious minorities in Egypt, primarily Coptic Christians.