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Egyptian Jews seek U.N. help

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An Egyptian Jewish group asked the United Nations to help it recover the community’s historic archives.

The Historical Society of Jews from Egypt says the government has refused to release the documents due to fear of restitution claims, the Jerusalem Post reported. The society has written to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization asking it to intervene in the matter.

“It’s our history, everything we own going back hundreds and hundreds of years,” said Desire Sakkal, the society’s president.

The Egyptian Embassy would not comment on the matter.

The society’s letter was prompted by comments from Egyptian Culture Minister Farouk Hosni, who said last month that he “would burn Israeli books myself if found in Egyptian libraries.” Hosni, who hopes to become the next head of UNESCO, subsequently claimed the statement was hyperbole and that he did not condone the burning of books.

A UNESCO spokesperson told JTA the organization had not yet received the society’s letter and could not comment.

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