Monday, September 20th | 14 Tishri 5782

May 6, 2016 7:16 am

Algeria Bans Jews From Visiting Gravesite

avatar by Elder of Ziyon

A depiction of Tlemcen synagogue in Algeria.

A depiction of Tlemcen synagogue in Algeria.

Algerian news site El Khabar reports that the government is not allowing French Jews to come on an annual pilgrimage to visit the gravesite of a 15th century rabbi.

Rabbi Ephraim ben Israel Alnaqua was a legendary spiritual leader and physician who escaped Spain (according to legend) and settled in Tlemcen, Algeria. The synagogue he established there was still standing as of 1906, according to the Jewish Encyclopedia.

Since Algerian independence, there have been a number of visits by Jews to the Jewish cemetery in Tlemcen (the rabbi is buried nearby). Some of the visits have been done under the radar but some were done publicly, including a 250-strong delegation in 2005.

These pilgrims are not from Israel. They are French Jews whose ancestors lived in Algeria. But the Algerian government is banning them from visiting.

I’m sure it is because of “occupation.”

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