Egypt’s Jewish leader sentenced to prison


(JTA) — The head of Egypt’s Jewish community was convicted of fraud by an Egyptian court and sentenced to three years in prison.

Carmen Weinstein was convicted Saturday of selling an Egyptian businessman a building that did not belong to her and then refusing to return his money. Weinstein said documents proving she had sold the building for 3 million Egyptian pounds, or $520,000, were forged.

Superiors reportedly told Israel’s ambassador to Cairo, Yitzhak Levanon, not to intervene because the tiny Jewish community in Egypt is in a sensitive position and his intervention might hurt them. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not expected to raise the issue in his meeting Tuesday in Cairo with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

The Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jareeda  reported Sunday that Levanon sent a letter to the Egyptian Foreign Ministry accusing the judiciary of being biased against Weinstein because of her religion. Israeli officials denied the report.

Weinstein heads a Jewish community of only dozens of members, most of whom are women. According to the Jerusalem Post, she rents out a few buildings to support the community.

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