WASHINGTON (Jul. 28)
The number of Egyptian Jews still held in prison in that country has dwindled to about 90–less than half the number imprisoned without charges five months ago, the Washington Post reported from Cairo yesterday. Correspondent William Tuohy of the Los Angeles Times-Washington Post news service quoted an “official source at the Cairo rabbinate” as the source of his information.
The newsman said that five months ago Grand Rabbi Haim Douek said he believed 225 Jews were still incarcerated in Tourah Prison between Cairo and the suburb of Helwan to the north. During the Six-Day War, an estimated 600-700, mostly family heads, were rounded up and jailed on unspecified “security” charges, Mr. Tuohy said.
The rabbinate official interviewed said the 90 Jews still held are all Egyptian citizens. He was also reported as saying that there are still 1,000 to 1,200 Jews left in Egypt of the 80,000 who lived there 20 years ago. Most of them live in Cairo and environs and in Alexandria.
Rabbi Douek has applied for an exit permit, Mr. Tuohy reported, but has not yet received an answer from Egyptian authorities. “The Government decides who can leave. If they decide against you, you don’t get a reply. As to what goes into their decision, I just can’t answer,” he was quoted as saying.
The correspondent also quoted Rabbi Douek as saying that the average Egyptian displays no animosity toward Egyptian Jews. “There are very, very few anti-Semitic fanatics,” he was quoted as saying. Only some 25 persons attend Friday and Saturday services, Mr. Tuohy quoted his other “official source” as saying. “In the past the synagogue was crowded, but no longer. Most of the men of the families have gone abroad, and the people feel alone here.”