need (for examples, certificates of marriage) are generally ignored. It appears to us they are unable to run the affairs of a rapidly dwindling community, let alone fulfill requests from abroad.
Regarding your second point, you stated that "these artifacts have already been registered with the Egyptian Antiquities authority and are subject to Egyptian Laws protecting our national heritage and can not be sent abroad."
We CATEGORICALLY reject the notion that our religious articles, which only a generation ago were used in daily rites and religious services, should now be labeled "antiquities", on par with the Sphinx or the Pyramids. These religious articles were donated by individual families to the community for specific religious purposes, not as "antiquities". They were to be used during synagogue prayers at certain times. They are meaningful only to people of the Jewish faith. They must be restored to their original purpose.
We have asked in the past for a detailed inventory of the synagogues and the Jewish community in general, but have not been successful. We ask you now to supply such a list. It appears you have it, since you state all
these items have already been catalogued by the Egyptian Department of Antiquities. We also ask for the confiscated Torah scrolls still at the airport.
The world is well aware of the uprooting and dispossession of the vibrant community of Jews from Egypt. Do you expect international public opinion to accept the final pilfering of what little is left of their cultural
heritage? Do you believe the world will acquiesce to the word game of calling religious articles by the name "antiquities" for the purpose of expropriating them? Do you expect the world to believe that a country that
expelled its Jews solely because they were Jews has the genuine desire to safeguard the heritage and culture of these same Jews for posterity? We do not.
We don't need to remind you how much we Jews from Egypt have suffered since 1948. We did not leave Egypt because we wanted to. The regime of Gamal Abdel Nasser ran a vicious propaganda campaign against us, harassed us, made us live in fear, denied us equal opportunity, denied us citizenship even though we were born in Egypt, confiscated our property, threw many of us in jail even though we committed no crimes, and finally forced us to leave the country, frequently by simply expelling us. Before leaving, we were forced to pledge that we would NEVER RETURN and that we were voluntarily forfeiting all our assets.
To call actions by their proper name, the Egyptian government stole, from the Jewish community as a whole and from individuals of the Jewish faith in particular, assets amounting to BILLIONS of dollars, for no reason
whatsoever. Our only crime was being Jewish. Not a penny has ever been returned to us. We all had to rebuild our lives from scratch in foreign lands.
And now, close to fifty years later,
· 1. Egypt still has not made any restitution to its Jews for confiscated assets, as the free world has done with other Jewish communities;
· 2. Egypt still has not apologized for its past evil treatment of its Jews, as the free world has done with other Jewish communities;
· 3. Egypt still has not officially recognized the great contribution Jews have made to their country of