Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi will allocate $71 million for the renovation of synagogues and Jewish heritage sites in the country.
The announcement about the grant was made by Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities, Khaled El Anany, who said that "there is importance in renovating the Jewish synagogues, just like the renovation of the pharaonic, Islamic and Coptic heritage. It is important to remember that the Jewish items and synagogues belong to the Egyptian government."
“Most of the synagogues in Egypt are in poor condition, and must be renovated so they can be turned into visitors' centers," added El Anany, who was quoted in the Yediot Aharonot newspaper.
The announcement said that the renovation will be carried out by the Egyptian government only, without the intervention of foreign governments and Jewish organizations from abroad.
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.
Last year, the Egyptian government approved a $22 million plan to restore the 160-year-old Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue in Alexandria, which is the last active synagogue in the city but which had been forced to close after part of its ceiling fell down.
Israel later thanked the Egyptian government for its decision to renovate the ancient synagogue.