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January 31, 2015 / 11 Shevat, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Egypt’

Egypt Beefs Up Security around Foreign Embassies

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

Egypt has deployed heavy security around foreign embassies in Cairo because of increased fears of terrorist attacks, according to the Saudi daily Ukaz.

Authorities said that terrorists from the Sinai are planning to attack an embassy and that the Muslim Brotherhood is planning to strike several targets throughout Egypt to undermine the Al-Sisi regime.

Alexandria Court Bans Annual Jewish Pilgrimage to Holy Rabbi’s Tomb

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

The Supreme Court of Alexandria has ‘permanently’ banned the three-day festival and celebration of the life of Rabbi Ya’akov Abuhatzeira, held on the anniversary of death.

The yearly event includes a worldwide Jewish pilgrimage to the tomb of the Moroccan Torah sage who set out from his home for Israel in 1879.

The rabbi was known for his skills in kabbalah and other ancient knowledge. He fell ill while passing through the Nile Delta region of Buheira and died in the small city of Damtu.

Since the signing of the 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, Jews have flocked to the tomb annually to pay their respects and celebrate the life of the Torah sage.

The celebration and pilgrimage were canceled for the first time since then in 2012, when the post-revolutionary government deemed the atmosphere to be unsafe to Jewish pilgrimage.

At that time, groups from across the political spectrum announced a plan to form human shields to prevent “Zionist” visitors from visiting the tomb on the anniversary of the rabbi’s death.

The tomb is registered with the Egyptian Ministry of State for Antiquities as a Jewish Heritage Site. Among those protesting was the Muslim Brotherhood – which was leading the way towards the presidency – as well as the Freedom and Justice Party, Nasserist Trend and the Mohamed ElBaradei campaign.

This year it is not the Cairo government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi who is issuing the edict, but rather the provincial court.

The court also called on the government to reverse the 2001 recognition of the festival as an event listed by state tourism officials and to remove it from the list of recognized shrines.

A request by the Israeli government for permission to transfer the remains of the rabbi to a grave in the State of Israel was denied because Islam forbids exhumation.

The judge in the case cited unspecified “moral offenses” as the reason for the ban and for stripping the site of its status, Al Arabiya reported.

Nevertheless, a government official who requested anonymity told the Cairo-based Al Ahram newspaper earlier this week that the court has no jurisdiction over recognition of sites as shrines. He added that Egypt’s government will appeal the move if necessary.

Egyptian Court Bans Rabbi Abu Hatsera Festival

Monday, December 29th, 2014

Published at Jewish Business News

An Egyptian court Monday banned an annual festival of a Jewish rabbi in a Nile Delta village, a judicial source said, the latest in a series of rulings against the event, Gulf News reported.

The decision by the Administrative Court in Alexandria was in response to a lawsuit filed by a lawyer, who said that the eight-day celebration of Moroccan rabbi Abu Hatsera’s birthday violates local traditions.

According to Jewish tradition, Rabbi Abu Hatsera is Yaakov ben Masood, a rabbi of Moroccan origin who immigrated to Egypt. His shrine is often visited every year by hundreds of Jews from Morocco, France and Israel.

The court said the rituals practiced at the celebration violate “public order and morals,” according to the source.

Hundreds of pilgrims from Israel and other countries flock to the Egyptian Delta village of Demito every January, to mark the death of the 19th rabbi buried there.

Angry locals say the visitors drink alcohol, dance and slaughter animals at the tomb of the saint.

Back in 2010, Egyptian police caught a terrorist team that was planning to blow up the rabbi’s gravesite. And in 2012, the then ruling Muslim Brothers, threatened that Jews visiting the site would be committing suicide.

On Monday, the court also revoked a 2001 decision by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, listing the tomb and its surroundings as heritage sites, the source said. The judge also ruled that the remains of Abu Hasira shall not be transferred to Israel.

Two years ago, Israel requested from Egypt – through the UNESCO – the transfer of Abu Hasria’s remains to Jerusalem.

Security measures were heightened during Monday’s court session, which saw a heavy presence from the media and the civil society.

There was no immediate government comment.

In 2001 and 2004, two Egyptian courts banned the festival, but were ignored by the government.

2015 IDF Military Intelligence ‘Crystal Ball’ Report

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

The upcoming calendar year will be filled with changes in the Arab world and new challenges for Israel to face, according to the IDF annual ‘crystal ball’ report from military intelligence. None of that is news to anyone living in this region.

But the more problematic part in the IDF MI annual assessment document is in the acknowledgement that beyond the first few months of 2015, it is really not possible to predict with any accuracy what the next year will bring.

Israel’s entire leadership is in flux; a new IDF general chief of staff, Gadi Eizenkot, is taking the helm at the same time early elections are being held.

Any emerging victorious party chairman will be asked by President Reuven Rivlin to form a new coalition, at a time that Israel is facing potentially serious threats on at least three (Lebanon, Syria, Gaza) of its five borders. A fourth border, that with Sinai, is questionable due to terror bases nestling in the region.

That’s not including the internal threat Israelis face from the rising third intifada and the rabid anti-Israel media and government incitement encouraged by Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, so beloved and lauded by international leaders. The United Nations Security Council is to vote Monday (Dec. 29, 2014) on a proposed deadline to force the expulsion of Israeli military forces from post-1967 territory. Either way the vote goes, the outcome and its fallout is not yet clear.

Meanwhile, there are other issues to consider when gazing into the Crystal Ball. The jostling for post-election ministerial portfolios, coalition bargaining and acclimation of new ministers and their seconds to their roles will be taking place at the same time new Knesset members will be learning their new jobs and jockeying for committee spots too. Many more experienced and savvy leaders are leaving the government, having had their fill of the bickering, vindictiveness and stupidity. Who will mind the store while all this is going on?

Folks, there’s a war going on. We’re not in the bomb shelters on a daily basis yet, but that doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods either. The sunny skies have a few clouds.

According to the MI report, it is clear that chemical weapons still exist in Syria, what is left of it, that is, and are being used by someone. What is not clear is the extent of control exercised over that supply by President Bashar al-Assad.

“Greater Syria” is no longer; Assad today refers to “Little Syria,” the 20 to 30 percent of the country he still controls, hence his belated attempt to “negotiate” with rebel leaders. Too little, too late, naturally. Syria has fallen apart, as has Libya – split into three states – and Sudan, now cut into two.

There are no real “Syrian rebel leaders” today either. Instead there are “emirates” and “emirs” in the developing caliphate being created by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the rapidly spreading ISIS terror organization.

ISIS has already taken over much of Iraq, and has done the same in Syria. The spoils of the land are divided up with its rebel partners in the civil war against Assad – Jabhat al Nusra, the Al Qaeda-linked Al Nusra Front and other terror groups. But they tend to fight against each other when they’re not banding together to fight against Assad’s forces – a bit like some of the Middle Eastern countries they have grown up in.

Meanwhile, it’s not clear where the Free Syrian Army stands in all this: the more moderate, Muslim rebel force is as ruthless as any other, but not enslaved to anyone but its own leadership at least. For that reason, perhaps, it is this force the West has chosen to support, albeit grudgingly, fearfully, and surreptitiously.

Egypt Bans ‘Exodus’ as a ‘Zionist film’

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

Egypt has banned the Hollywood Biblical epic “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” slamming the movies as a “Zionist film” and criticizing it for a number of historical inaccuracies.

The film, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Christian Bale as Moses, retells the epic Biblical story from the “Book of Exodus” of Moses leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt.

However, Egyptian Cultural Minister Gaber Asfour slammed the film, saying that it was filled with historic inaccuracies, including making the claim that “Moses and the Jews built the pyramids,” AFP reported.

“This totally contradicts proven historical facts,” Asfour said.

“It is a Zionist film,” he said. “It gives a Zionist view of history and contains historical inaccuracies and that’s why we have decided to ban it.”

The film has also garnered controversy in the U.S. with some who have criticized Scott for taking too many liberties with the Biblical story and also for casting Western actors in Middle Eastern roles.

Morocco has also reportedly banned the film just days before it was slated to premiere, AFP reported.

The film has opened to negative reviews and took in a disappointing $24.5 million during its opening weekend. The film cost around $140 million to make.

Islamists Help Israeli Exports and Blow Up Egyptian Gas Pipeline

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Islamists blew up Egypt’s natural gas pipeline in northern Sinai Tuesday morning.

All roads to the area have been closed.

The “Champions of Israel,” known in Arabic as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, previous has claimed responsibility for numerous bombings and attacks on Egyptian forces and has pledged its allegiance to the ISIS.

Every time the terrorists blow up the Egyptian gas pipeline, it benefits Israel, a more dependable source for natural gas that is being pumped from off-short energy fields discovered in recent years.

However, Israeli authorities still can’t make up their minds over an agreement what Israel’s Delek Group and its partner Noble Energy, based in the United States, can buy the Leviathan off-short energy field.

Anti-trust officials said Tuesday morning they told representatives of Delek and Noble they are ”considering” whether the purchase establishes them as an illegal cartel.

Egypt Reopens Rafah Crossing

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

After closing the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Sinai/Egypt for the past 2 months, Egypt opened it up on Sunday for the first time.

Egypt transferred medical supplies to Gaza, and 250 Gazans exited to Egypt for medical treatment.

Egypt closed the crossing due the ongoing terror attacks against Egypt emanating from the Gaza Strip.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/egypt-reopens-rafah-crossing/2014/12/22/

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