CAIRO: Egypt intercepted Jewish antiquities being smuggled to Belgium, announced Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim Friday.
The Unit of Archeological Seizure in Damietta found Jewish antiquities inside crates en route to Belgium Thursday; the artifacts are subject to Antiquities Protection Law 117 of 198, the minister added in a statement, noting that some of the antiquities are being studied to ascertain their date.
The seized artifacts include eleven 20-centimeter-diameter wooden cylindrical torah cases inlaid with engraved silver and lined with velour, the statement read.
A silver knife dated to 1890, a silver crown and a menorah are among the artifacts, as well as bells that are being studied to estimate their date, according to the statement.
There are only an estimated 20 Jews remain in Egypt, where they had once numbers in the hundreds of thousands, the head of Egypt’s Jewish community Magda Haroun said during a Nov. 9, 2013 press conference, according to al-Dostor newspaper.
There are more than ten synagogues in Cairo, including Ben Ezra Synagogue and Sha’ar Hashamayim Synagogue, and Alexandria’s Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue.