A group of Israeli volunteers traveled to Egypt on Monday as part of a covert mission to rehabilitate Rabbi Yaakov Abuhatzeira’s tomb, which has been neglected for years.
The work at Damanhur was carried out in collaboration with Egyptian officials, with volunteers cleaning the tomb site and its perimeter, restoring damaged windows and repainting the tomb’s walls, according to Ynet.
The repairs took several hours to complete, and came after Abuhatzeira’s family had lobbied Egyptian officials for several years to authorize the refurbishment.
The Abuhatzeira family hopes that Egyptian authorities will now be more accommodating of potential Israeli pilgrims who visit the burial site once a year, a ritual that Egyptian officials banned in 2012 due to “moral offenses” allegedly perpetrated by Jewish visitors.
Following the restriction, former Israeli Ambassador to Egypt David Govrin was the first to visit the site in 2017, photographing the grave’s deplorable condition.