Mubarak To Allow Jews To Visit Kever In Egypt


mubarakEgyptian President Hosni Mubarak yesterday acceded to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s request to allow hundreds of Jews to visit the kever of Rav Yaakov Abuchatzeira zt”l near Alexandria at the end of next week.

Citing security concerns, Egyptian authorities had initially refused to allow a traditional hilula held on the yahrtzeit.

In 1879, Rav Yaakov Abuchatzeira made his way from his native Morocco to the Land of Israel via Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. While passing through the Egyptian city of Damanhour, he grew ill and was niftar.

Every year on the 19th of Teves, a hilula is held at his kever, often attended by hundreds. But last year, the anniversary fell immediately after Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, and Egyptian authorities denied Israelis entry, saying they could not ensure their safety.

In recent weeks, Israeli defense officials have asked their Egyptian counterparts to ensure the Jews were allowed entry. Prior to Netanyahu’s trip to Egypt, Shas chairman Eli Yishai asked him to speak with Mubarak about this issue.

An Israeli diplomat said Mubarak personally approved Netanyahu’s request and instructed intelligence chief Omar Suleiman to take measures to ensure the worshipers’ safety.

Rav Yaakov Abuchatzeira was the grandfather of Rav Yisroel Abuchatzeira, the Baba Sali, who is buried in Netivot .

{Yair Israel}