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Monday, 28 September 2020

US embassy to fund restoration of ancient Jewish cemetery in Cairo

In February 2019, Cairo governorate started cleaning up rubbish at the historic Jewish cemetery, removing over 2,000 tons of garbage from the location

Ahram Online , Thursday 23 Jan 2020
File photo: Cairo governorate cleaning the famous Bassatine Jewish cemetery (Photo: Jewish community
File photo: Cairo governorate cleaning the famous Bassatine Jewish cemetery (Photo: Jewish community in Cairo)
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The US Embassy in Cairo announced Thursday it would fund the conservation of Bassatine Jewish Cemetery in Cairo, one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in the world.

The restoration of the 1,200-year-old cemetery, located in the Cairo suburb of El-Bassatine, is aimed at conserving the graveyards and architecture and ensuring the long-term sustainability of the site, the embassy said in a statement. 

The project will be financed under the US Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP), which supports the preservation of cultural sites.

“We are proud to partner in preserving and protecting Egypt’s heritage sites," the embassy quoted US Ambassador Jonathan Cohen as saying at the inauguration of the project. 

"This Ambassadors Fund project at Bassatine Cemetery is an investment in Egypt’s diverse cultural history, and an opportunity to raise awareness of Egypt’s diversity.”

The project at Bassatine Cemetery will be implemented by the American Research Centre in Egypt in cooperation with Drop of Milk Foundation.

Egyptian Jews of all backgrounds have been buried in the site of the cemetery since its founding, including iconic Egyptian Jewish figures like Rabbi Haim Capusi, the embassy said.

In February 2019, Cairo governorate started cleaning up rubbish at the historic Jewish cemetery, removing over 2,000 tons of garbage from the location.

Earlier this month, Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue in Alexandria was inaugurated after restoration work amounting to more than EGP 60 million.

In late 2018, the Egyptian government launched a campaign to restore and renovate Jewish landmarks in Egypt, including synagogues.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said in a meeting with a Jewish-American delegation in February 2019 that the Egyptian government would build a synagogue and provide services to the Jewish community if Jews return to Egypt.

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