Fears for the future of religious minorities in Egypt were accentuated last week when it was announced that the last synagogue in the country would be closed down. The Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue, which had operated in Alexandria, was the last functioning center of Jewish life in the country.
Although there are many synagogues around Egypt, the one in Alexandria is the only active one, the others having been turned into tourist sites.
Egyptian police say the closure is because they can no longer guarantee its protection during the short span of time it will be open for the Jewish holy days. Can’t? Or won’t?
With no official meeting place for the Jews to celebrate their high holy days in Egypt, the closure brings an end to the final vestiges of Jewish life in the country.
The Jews are not the only ones feeling the brunt of the so-called Arab Spring in Egypt. Both Catholics and Copts have also been persecuted and attacked, forcing many to flee.
As Jews, Copts and other religious minorities flee the country in fear, will they think back to President Barack Obama’s optimistic hope for a democratic Egypt?