memorial candle
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The oldest Jew in Cairo, and one of the last Jews remaining in Egypt, has died at the age of 91.

Albert Arie was one of an estimated five Jews left in Egypt, according to Jimena, a website dedicated to the history of Egyptian Jews.

He was one of a group of anti-Zionist Jews who joined the Egyptian nationalist movement and was “celebrated by Egyptians for his refusal to move to Israel,” according to the Jewish blog, Elder Of Ziyon.

During the period in which the Egyptian Jewish community was persecuted and most left the country, which took place in stages according to Arie, first in 1948, then in 1956, followed by 1961 and 1967, Arie stayed behind. He described his life in an October interview he gave to Alarabiya News as part of a documentary on the lives of Egypt’s Jews.

He told the news outlet that when he was a young man, the Jewish community considered Egypt their country and couldn’t imagine a situation that would cause them to leave.

“In the Jewish sect, in 1945, no one could imagine that in 1948 there would be a war and Jews would emigrate,” he said. “It was impossible to think even after what the Muslim Brotherhood did, no one thought they would leave the country.”

Arie is the grandfather of Magda Haroun, the current president of the Egyptian Jewish community. According to Haroun, the community no longer has enough men for a minyan.

“Our numbers are few and one day our presence will no longer exist in Egypt,” she said in the documentary. “But we have to keep and maintain (the synagogues).”

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