Jews in Egypt ‘will not pay for synagogue repairs’

A report on Israel’s army radio quoting sources stating that the handful of Jews still in Egypt will have to pay the cost of repairs to an Alexandrian synagogue has been dismissed  as ‘fake news’. 

 The Eliyahu Hanavi synagogue in Alexandria

Levana Zamir, head of the Association of Jews from Egypt, corrected the impression on her Facebook page that Egypt’s few Jews – numbering no more than five in Alexandria and six widows in Cairo – would have to bear the financial burden of repairs to the Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue, where the roof of the ladies’ gallery has collapsed.

She added that the cost of renovation is a respectable $5.6 million, not the $22 million quoted by some sources.

The money is to come from the US, which regularly finances the preservation of Egypt’s Pharaonic heritage, antiquities and archeology. After intervention  from the American Jewish Committee and the Nebi Daniel Association, the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities agreed to allocate the sum of $5.6 million to repair the Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue, now considered an Egyptian antiquity. 

A synagogue has stood on the site for 2,000 years, but it was in the 19th century that the present grand Italianate building was erected in Nebi Danel street, Alexandria – the biggest in the Middle East.

As Levana Zamir explained in a radio interview on 10 July, organisations representing Egyptian Jews around the world have long offered to pay to preserve Egypt’s Jewish heritage from their own coffers, but Egypt has insisted that Jewish sites are part of its national heritage.

Mrs Zamir praises President el-Sisi for having had the courage to allocate a sum for the preservation of the Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue as part of a wider restoration programme.

Of Egypt’s sixty synagogues, only 16 are still standing, most in serious need of restoration. No prayer services are held.

Egypt to restore Alexandria Synagogue for $2.2 million

Egypt registers Jewish artefacts – to preserve them

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