For the first time in 2000 years, the Jewish community in Alexandria will not have a service for either the Day of Atonement or New Years (Yon Kippur and Rosh Hashono).
The Jewish community, that has existed in Alexandria since Alexander the Great founded the city in 320 BCE, numbered about 80,000 in 1948 but now has shrunk down to four men and eighteen women.
Ritually correct services require a minimum of ten men, and preferably a rabbi and cantor, and young Jewish men had been recruited from Israel to come in just for the services. Egyptian authorities have ordered the cancellation of Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur celebrations at Alexandria's Eliahou Hanabi Synagogue due to 'security concerns.'
It will be the first time since the synagogue was built in 1836 that the festivals will not take place.
Dr. Abdul Hamid al-Atrash, the head of the Fatwa Committee of Al Azhar in Egypt, has issued a ruling that Arabs may ban Jews from visiting their holy sites in Arab lands.
Al-Atrash says that as long as Muslims cannot travel to Jerusalem while it is in Jewish hands, then Muslims have the right to bar Jews from visiting their own holy places, under the Islamic concept of "reciprocity." Therefore, he says, Egyptian authorities have the right to ban Jews from going to the Alexandria synagogue on Rosh Hashanah.
He backed up his opinion with a Koranic verse, "Glory be to Allah, His Prophet and the believers, but the hypocrites know not." Also, he used a Hadith that says "Who allowed himself to be humiliated is not one of us," a saying that explains a lot. Apparently, Jews visiting Jewish holy sites is a humiliation for Muslims.
It is worth mentioning that there is nothing stopping most Muslims from visiting Jerusalem, via Jordan. A few months ago the Mufti of Egypt, Ali Gomaa, visited the Al Aqsa Mosque, and no Israeli stopped him. The only people upset over this were Muslims, including the Mufti of Jerusalem who declared it to be forbidden for Muslims to visit the city.Two years ago, influential Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, chairman of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, likewise issued a fatwa against Muslims visiting Jerusalem.
So it is Muslims who are banning Muslims from visiting holy sites in Israel- not Israelis.