Monday, June 23, 2008

Jewish 'roots' tourists protest to Egyptian envoy

Following the cancellation at three days' notice of a 'roots trip' to Egypt last month, the largest organisation of Egyptian Jews in Israel has lodged a formal protest with the Egyptian ambassador in Tel Aviv.

In a letter to H.E. Mohamad Assem Ibrahim, the Ambassador of Egypt in Israel, the Chairman of the Union des Juifs d'Egypte, Arie Ochana, said that the cancellation of the trip was unacceptable, in view of the fact that it had been planned with the knowledge and consent of the Egyptian authorities and the active encouragement of the Egyptian embassy in Israel.

The Egyptian authorities in Cairo and Alexandria were to have provided the security measures at the hotel, bus and sites visited by the group.

The trip by 45 elderly Jews, led by Levana Zamir of the Israel-Egyptian Friendship Association, would have included a meeting with the Egyptian Minister of Culture, Mr. Farouk Hosni, in his office in Cairo, scheduled at the Minister's own initiative.

The reason given by the Egyptians for the cancellation was the inability of the hotel to guarantee the group's security.

Mr Ochana wrote: " If somebody or anyone tried to jeopardize this trip, we are surprised that the Egyptian Security and Government has given a hand to such a drastic occurrence, reverberation of which has been felt throughout the world. We, the Jews from Egypt in Israel, convey our deep respect and high esteem to the Egyptian authorities, and find it hard to believe their behavior in this case."

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