Synagogues in Egypt are safe, but police are gone

The Eliahu Hanavi synagogue…employees have not shown up for work

As chaos and unrest rule in Egypt, Point of No Return is grateful to Yves Fedida of the Nebi Daniel Association for this update on the state of Egypt’s Jewish community and heritage.

Update to the update(with thanks Alain):

Roger Bilboul reports (31 January): ” I have spoken to both Carmen Weinstein and Ben Gaon today who inform me that everything is safe.

“Carmen Weinstein sent two of her employees yesterday to check on the synagogue in Adly Street and they were subjected to warning shots from a neighbour who is also an army officer. The employees had to prove their identity before they were allowed to go into the synagogue.

As of a couple of hours ago, there is still no security detail outside the Alexandria synagogue. The army has ring-fenced Old Cairo where the Ben Ezra synagogue is located.


Yves Fedida reports (30 January): “I spoke just now (Sunday afternoon) with Mrs Weinstein, the President of the Cairo Community. She is safe and sound and indicates that army security forces have replaced the police guarding the synagogues. These remain completely locked and closed and nothing bad has befallen them.

“Earlier today Roger Bilboul (also of Nebi Daniel) and I in turn spoke to M. Ben Youssef Gaon, President of the Alexandria Community this morning.

“Here is what he told us :

“The shops along the street of the (Eliahu Hanavi) Synagogue (Nebi Daniel Street) have been looted, as have many other shops especially jewellery shops in town together with the main Alexandria Carrefour store.

“All the main police stations in downtown Alex have been torched with some burnt to the ground. Thugs are roaming the streets, now void of any police force.

“The police and their informers usually mounting a punctilious guard, 24/7, in front of the synagogue have totally disappeared. No one has so far replaced them. The Synagogue employees (gardeners, handymen, cleaning personnel, accountant and secretary) have not shown up for work.

“In a totally insecure environment, only M. Gaon and M. Abd El Nabi, the warden, are standing their ground, alone in a massive building, showing a daytime presence at least on the synagogue grounds to discourage would-be intruders.

“We should all recognise the courage it takes to be there, caring at this time.

“For its part the Nebi Daniel Association wishes to publicly acknowledge the courage and dedication of M. Abd El Nabi and M. Ben Gaon. Hopefully their action will keep our heritage out of harm’s way until reason prevails.”


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