Egypt’s Jews concerned over 'cancelling' of financial aid

Ahram Online, Tuesday 28 May 2013

Jewish community asks for clarification after media reports say financial aid has been cancelled

Magda Haroun, the head of Egypt's Jewish community

The Egyptian Jewish community sent a letter to the Shura Council’s Human Rights Committee on Monday after media reports claimed financial aid to the community would be cancelled.  

The letter explained that aid worth of LE100,000 had been allocated to the Egyptian Jewish community by the Ministry of Social Affairs.

The Jewish community also requested that a rabbi from an Arab country be appointed to help Egyptian Jews practice their religion and that special food, which cannot be found locally, be provided for religious festivals.

Mohamed El-Azab, a member of the committee, stressed he is not against the request for financial aid and called for ministry representatives to carry out a study to assess the community's needs given their small number and old age.

The legality of their request for a rabbi and special food must be clarified before it can be accepted, El-Azab said.

There are estimated to be less 100 Egyptian Jews still living in the country, most of whom are elderly women.

On 15 April, the Jewish community elected Magda Haroun as its new leader following the death of Carmen Weinstein on 13 April aged 84.

Following her election, Haroun told Al-Ahram Arabic news website that she refuses Israeli offers of financial help for the renovation of Egypt's ancient Jewish synagogues.

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