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February 12, 2016 2:14 pm

Jewish Groups Endorse Petition Calling on Egypt to Preserve Institutions, Heritage

avatar by Eliezer Sherman

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Sha'ar Hashamayim Synagogue, Cairo. Photo: Wikipedia

Sha’ar Hashamayim Synagogue, Cairo. Photo: Wikipedia

Some 11 Jewish institutions including the American Jewish Committee have rallied behind a petition calling on the Egyptian government to recognize and work toward preserving Jewish heritage sites in the country, The Algemeiner has learned.

“Over the past 14 years, we have faced inertia on the part of the Egyptian authorities when it came to the preservation of our cultural and religious heritage,” the petitioners wrote, adding that they had been refused by ministers of various countries, ambassadors and UNESCO as well.

The rest of the petition read:

It is up to us to act. The signatories, associations of Jews from Egypt, supported by international Jewish institutions (see below) have decided to act with a united and strong voice, ending our “low profile” approach of the past few years. Our action starts with a petition to President [Abdel Fattah el-Sisi] underlying 5 fundamental issues. It is launched as of 10th February…

This is about our right. This is about our collective Memory.
It concerns your History, your Heritage- yours and your family’s.
It is essential you sign the petition which is visible both in English and French.
It is as essential that you have it signed by your parents, children, family and friends, Jews from  Egypt.
Please: Act now;  Circulate this now. Please share on social medias
If not for yourselves, then for the sake of those who came before us.
Egypt’s Jewish community dwindled from nearly 100,000 to just a few dozen over the last 60 years, with the largest emigrations occurring in 1940s and 1950s after the founding of the State of Israel. The Jewish community left behind thousands of years of Jewish heritage in the country, including synagogues, other properties and artifacts.

While some synagogues, such as the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Old Cairo and Sha’ar Hashamayim Synagogue in Downtown Cairo, are open to the public and mostly restored, many other Jewish institutions have gone into disrepair.

In addition to AJC, the petition was endorsed by the Consistoire Central of France, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the Union des Juifs d’Egypte in Israel and the Association des Juifs Originaire d’Egypte in Canada.

The petition also came amid a high-profile meeting of American Jewish leaders with the Egyptian president on Thursday.

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