(JNi.Media) The Egyptian government plans to restore the historic Eliyahu HaNavi synagogue. Egypt’s Ministry of State of Antiquities announced that it would allocate $2.2 million or 40 million Egyptian pounds for the restoration, according to head of Islamic and Coptic Monuments Department, al-Saeed Helmy Ezzat.
The synagogue, which had stood in disrepair for many years, closed its doors when the ceiling in the women’s section collapsed last year and it was rendered unusable.
The reconstruction of the synagogue will begin pending approval from the Board of Directors of the Antiquities Ministry.
The historic synagogue was built in 1354 and was bombed by the French when they invaded Egypt in 1798. It was rebuilt in 1850 with funding from the Muhammad Ali Dynasty in 1850. The Jewish community in Alexandria was thriving in the 1930s with over 20,000 Jews. However, there are currently just 50 Jews in Alexandria.
Although Egyptian law stipulates that the Jewish community should pick up the bill for the restoration of Jewish sites, the Egyptian government intends to provide the funds.
State-owned media outlet, Al-Ahram, insisted that none of the money to restore the synagogue was coming from Israel and that the synagogue was considered as a treasure of Egyptian, rather than Jewish, culture. According to Al-Ahram, Israeli minister David Govrin offered money to restore the synagogue in 2016, but was turned down. El-Saeed said, “Egypt has a clear and direct stand on Israel, and it doesn’t accept money from it. The temple is located on Egyptian lands, and it would never accept Israeli money to renovate our heritage.”