Officer outside attacked synagogue
Photo: AP

Israelis in Cairo unperturbed by synagogue attack

Hours after makeshift bomb hurled at local synagogue, director of Israeli Academic Center in Cairo says local Jews 'not particularly alarmed'

Israelis residing in Cairo, as well as members of the small Jewish community seem unperturbed by Sunday's attack on the main downtown synagogue in the Egyptian capital


In the attack, a man hurled a suitcase containing a makeshift bomb made of gasoline canisters at the synagogue. There were no reports of injury or damage.


"We are not particularly alarmed by what happened; the synagogue is open to the public and anyone can visit," said Gabi Rosenbaum, director of the Israeli Academic Center in Cairo.


He said daily prayer sessions are not routinely held in the attacked synagogue, but added that "events are held there during the holidays."


Despite the attack, Rosenbaum said he does plan on taking any special precautionary measures. "We are going about our business as usual. I am careful wherever I am in the world; in Cairo it is recommended to be careful on the road," he said.


Rosenbaum said he had no additional information on Sunday's attack. "The synagogue is usually empty because Egypt's Jewish community is so small; it consists of several dozen people in Cairo and Alexandria," he told Ynet.


However, Ynet reported last month that people who had visited the Academic Center in Cairo were harassed by Egyptian authorities and even warned not to come in contact with Israelis.


Hussein Baker, 20, a fourth-year Hebrew student at Menoufia University who visited the center, said he was approached by a man who presented himself as Staff Sergeant Hossam of the state's security service.


"I looked at him, alarmed, and asked if I had done anything wrong. He said he only wanted to ask a few questions and began asking me why I visited the center, who I met there, what I think about Israel and what do the Israelis write about Egypt in their newspapers," the student recalled.


A week later, Baker's girlfriend received a phone call from another security officer, who asked her about her boyfriend, his studies and his political opinions.


The center was established in the early 1980s as part of the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, in a bid to advance the cultural and academic ties between the two countries.


פרסום ראשון: 02.21.10, 20:39
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