New regime closes Egypt’s last synagogue

Special to

WASHINGTON — Egypt’s new Islamist regime has stopped the last
synagogue from holding services.

“The Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue, which had operated in Alexandria, was the last functioning center of Jewish life in the country,” the Gatestone Institute said.

The Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue was told by the regime of President
Mohammed Morsi that Jews would not be allowed to pray during High Holiday services in September. The synagogue’s rabbi was told that Egyptian police could not guarantee security.

Eliayahu Hanavi was called the last functioning synagogue in Egypt. The Jewish community, most of which was driven out after Israel was established in 1948, was said to number no more than 100.

Jewish groups have criticized the prevention of services in Egypt, which receives $1.3 billion in annual U.S. defense assistance. The Zionist Organization of America questioned the motivation for Morsi’s decision after his predecessor allowed the synagogue to conduct services on the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur.

“If the Hosni Mubarak regime was able to protect Jews worshipping in synagogue on the High Holidays, why cannot the Mohammed Morsi regime?” ZOA
asked in a statement on Sept. 13. “This seems to be more an act of enmity
towards Jews rather than one of concern for their security.”

Shiraz Maher, a leading analyst, went further. Maher, a senior research
fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation Kings
College in London, said Morsi’s decision would destroy Jewish life in Egypt.

“The news that Egypt’s last synagogue, the Eliyahu Hanavi, will now be
unable to hold services effectively brings an end to any remaining semblance
of Jewish life in Egypt,” Maher said.

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