Private Motive for Egypt's Public Embrace of a Jewish Past

[New York Times] Michael Slackman - In the Alley of the Jews in Cairo, the government is busy renovating an abandoned, dilapidated synagogue. In fact, the government is publicly embracing its Jewish past. Egypt has restored two synagogues and plans to restore eight more. But because of public anger toward Israel and deep, widespread anti-Semitism, the government initially insisted that its activities remain secret. Why the sudden public display of affection for Egypt's Jewish past? Global politics. Egypt's minister of culture, Farouk Hosny, wants to be the next director general of UNESCO, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. In 2008 he said he would burn any Israeli book found in the nation's premier library in Alexandria, a statement for which he has since apologized.

2009-09-07 08:00:00

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