In what might be a first sign of normalisation, the Israeli
ambassador to Egypt, David Guvrin, made a rare visit this week
to Alexandria, in the north of the country along with embassy staff, and met
with the head of the Jewish ‘community’ Yosef Ben Gaon at the Nebi Daniel synagogue, according to this report in Ynet News. The Nebi Daniel synagogue is in desperate need of government funds for its renovation. A few months ago, the ceiling in the ladies’ gallery partially collapsed.
Update: Israel National News reports the Israel ambassor as saying: ” The Eliyahu Hanavi synagogue needs to be restored. The Antiquities
Authority are the ones responsible, and in recent years, they have
sent delegations to see what needs to be done. It was actually decided
to restore the synagogue, but coming up with the necessary sum of money –
two and a half million dollars – is a problem. The Jewish community in
Alexandria is working to find the money necessary for the project.”
Ynet News reports:
Guvrin was sworn in less than a month ago and submitted his credentials to Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
The focus of the visit lasted two days and there was a tour of the
Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue in the city and the offices of
the Jewish community.
The synagogue in question is a magnificent 19th century building. The Jewish community of Alexandria consisted up to the 1930s
of the 20th century of more than 20, 000 Jews.
The ambassador met with the head of the Jewish ‘community’, Yosef Ben
Gaon, who told him that today are only 17 Jews in Alexandria (others say there are only five – ed) and the
community tries its best to maintain the magnificent synagogue and
assist community members in need. (…)”We are pleased that you are here,” said Ben Gaon.
The ancient synagogue
A video released by the Israeli Embassy in Egypt showed the two conversing in Arabic. Gaon expressed the hope that the Egyptian
government will help renovate the place.
“We as the state of Israel, the state of the Jewish people, are very interested in
this issue and are willing to participate and cooperate with the
relevant bodies in this field,” said Guvrin.
Ben Gaon replied: “We are all brothers. We are all one. There is no one
better than another. We do the same thing. God willing, all things work