Courtesy of the Arab Spring.

(JPost) — Egypt has cancelled the annual pilgrimage to the tomb of Rabbi Yaakov Abuhatzeira, some 160 kilometers northwest of Cairo in the Nile Delta, because of the country’s current instability, the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram reported on its website Wednesday.

According to the report, local authorities in the governorate where the shrine is located advised the military authorities to cancel the pilgrimage, scheduled for later this week to mark the Hebrew date of the rabbi’s death.

Israeli Foreign Ministry officials, however, said Jerusalem had been in contact with the Egyptians in an attempt to ensure that the pilgrimage takes place. These efforts were being carried out despite the travel advisory issued by the National Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau warning against Israeli visits to Egypt due to “concrete risks.”

Abuhatzeira, also known as the Abir Yaakov, was a 19thcentury rabbi and mystic who lived in Morocco and died in Damanhur, near Alexandria, during a trip to Palestine in 1880. He was the grandfather of the Baba Sali, the noted kabbalist who died in 1984 and is buried in Netivot.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, drawing on a report from Egypt’s state-run MENA news agency, said Tuesday that a group — led by members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and joined by Mohamed ElBaradei’s presidential campaign and the Nasserist Trend — had vowed to form a human chain to prevent “Zionists” from traveling to Damanhur. According to the report, the Muslim Brotherhood called the pilgrimage “unpopular and unacceptable legally and politically.”

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