Cairo governorate removing 2,000 tonnes of rubbish from historical Jewish cemetery

Ahram Online , Tuesday 26 Feb 2019

Cairo governorate cleaning the famous Bassatine Jewish cemetery (Photo: Jewish community in Cairo)

Cairo governorate started last week cleaning up rubbish at the historical Jewish cemetery in the city's Bassatine area, the Jewish Community in Cairo said.

The governorate has organised a campaign to remove over 2,000 tonnes of garbage from the Bassatine cemetery, which had been neglected for decades.

According to a media statement, Cairo governorate will hand over the task of restoring and renovating the cemetery to the Jewish Community to Cairo, which has welcomed the responsibility.

"Egypt is defending her Jewish heritage," the community said on its official Facebook page, adding that "thousands of souls will rest in peace tonight."

The Bassatine cemetery fell into neglect after the mass departure of Egyptian Jews from the country due to wars with Israel and nationalisation policies adopted by the Egyptian government in the 1950s and 1960s.

The cemetery is one of the largest and oldest Jewish cemeteries in Egypt and the Middle East, dating back to over 1,000 years.

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

The Eilyahu Hanavi synagogue in Alexandria is currently being restored, with EGP 100 million allocated for the task.

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

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