Egypt approves plan to restore ancient Alexandria synagogue

Reports say the Egyptian government has approved a $22 million plan to restore 160-year-old Alexandria synagogue.

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Arutz Sheva North America Staff,

The great synagogue of Alexandria
The great synagogue of Alexandria
Uri Lenz/Flash 90

The Egyptian government has approved a $22 million plan to restore a 160-year-old synagogue in Alexandria, JTA reported on Friday.

According to the Jewish news agency, the Ministry of Antiquities’ Project Sector on Wednesdsay approved the funds for restoring and developing the Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue. The report cited the Arabic-language daily Al-Masry Al-Youm.

The synagogue was forced to close several months ago after part of its ceiling fell down.

The head of the Islamic and Coptic Monuments Department, al-Saeed Helmy Ezzat, was quoted as having said that the government will pay for the restoration even though Egyptian law requires the community to cover such work.

The Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue can seat over 700 people and is considered to be one of the largest synagogues in the Middle East.

It is the last active synagogue in Alexandria, which once was home to 50,000 Jews. Estimates today put the number of Jews living in all of Egypt at fewer than 50.

There were between 80,000 and 120,000 Jews in Egypt up until the mid-20th century, but the 1948 War of Independence led to the disintegration of the community, with many leaving Egypt or being forced out under the regime of then-president Gamal Abdel Nasser.

The Jewish community in Egypt has been led since 2013 by Magda Haroun.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)