Harry Potter and the Israeli muggle grave

Harry Potter with Ron and Hermione

Harry Potter with Ron and Hermione

It has been described as a “billion-dollar Zionist project” by an Iranian newspaper and criticised for “corrupting” young souls by the pope. Now it turns out that Harry Potter does have a connection with the Holy Land.

Tourists have been flocking to the Israeli town of Ramla to visit the grave of Harry Potter, a British soldier who died as a teenager in 1939.

Private Potter, unlike his fictional counterpart, grew up in Birmingham and joined the army in 1938.

He was posted to what was then British Mandate Palestine and killed in battle the following year.

Tour guide Ron Peled, who regularly brings fans to see the grave, said: "There is no connection with the Harry Potter we know from literature.

“But the name sells, the name is marketable," said Mr Peled.

Josef Peretz, visiting from Tel Aviv, added: “It's a type of pilgrimage for some man whose name stands out.”

The penultimate Harry Potter film is released this Friday.

Last updated: 2:59pm, January 28 2011