(JNS) Egyptian Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Anany presented on Jan. 10 the Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue in Alexandria after major renovations carried out by the antiquities ministry and the Armed Forces Engineering Authority. The restoration cost around $4 million. Such work demonstrates that Egypt sees Jewish cultural history in the country as an integral part of its heritage, archaeological expert Abdel-Rahim Rayhan told the country’s Middle East News Agency. Rayhan said there are 11 registered Jewish places of worship with nine in Cairo and two in Alexandria.
According to the World Monuments Fund, the Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue is one of two remaining Jewish religious institutions in Alexandria, where previously there were 12. One of the Middle East’s largest synagogues, it was built by an Italian architect in the 1850s at the site of a 14th-century synagogue that was bombed during Napoleon’s invasion in 1798.
Egypt has a tiny Jewish community, mostly made up of elderly members. It once had a thriving community of between 75,000 and 80,000 in 1948, though they were expelled in the 1950s.