Egypt cleans and removes slums near 1,200-year-old Jewish cemetery

February 24, 2019 by JNS
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In response to requests from the international Jewish community, Egypt has started eliminating slums near Bassatine Cemetery, in the eastern part of the second-oldest Jewish cemetery on earth, according to those in Cairo and others familiar with the situation.

Egypt has started eliminating slums near the eastern part of Bassatine Cemetery in Cairo, the second-oldest Jewish cemetery on earth. Credit: Jewish community in Cairo.

“Today, the Egyptian government started to clean and to remove the slums in the east part of Bassatine Cemetery. Egypt is defending her Jewish heritage,” the group said in a statement. “Thousands of souls will sleep in peace tonight. Thanks to all how contributed to this achievement.”

The cemetery has been subjected to deterioration and negligence “from countless stolen marble slabs that cover the graves to general abuse by poor Egyptian settlers who built slums,” reported Egyptian Streets.

Additionally, the government removed waste in the cemeteries amid complaints from citizens, said Ahmed Fouad, the deputy governor of Cairo for the southern region.

The cemetery is the only remaining Jewish one left in Cairo and Egypt’s largest.

The American Jewish Committee, which has long called for such development to happen, applauded Egypt for cleaning up the 1,200-year-old burial site.

“Egypt’s commitment to preserving Jewish sites and records is vitally important,” said Rabbi Andrew Baker, the organization’s director of international Jewish affairs.

The government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi recently announced an initiative to restore Jewish heritage sites throughout the country.



One Response to “Egypt cleans and removes slums near 1,200-year-old Jewish cemetery”
  1. Adrian Jackson says:

    When I visited Egypt in 1985 there were many poor people living, not only in cemeteries and there were many large cemeteries in urban areas and obviously they were mainly Muslim cemeteries, but also in car park spaces under flats in a more affluent suburb called Heliopolis. Affluent by Egyptian standards.

    My Australian Army friend (a UN Sinai peace keeper) I stayed with in Cairo had a Egyptian Christian family living in the car space under the block of flats and their young adult daughter would do some external paid work for them like taking the bins out and my friends wife would teach her some English weekly for free.

    I went on one patrol from a UN compound at El Arish with him and another officer around Sinai too. We could not do that now.

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