From the Egypt State Information Service (FULL ARTICLE)
The head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities on Thursday 20/8/2009 unveiled restoration work under way at one of Egypt’s most famous synagogues, a project he denied was meant to assuage Jewish anger at the country’s culture minister.
The Egyptian government has rallied around Culture Minister Farouk Honsni, but Zahi Hawwas, the head of the Council said the decision to restore the Moses Ben Maimon Synagogue in Cairo had nothing to do with Hosni’s candidacy.
“I believe these rumors were started to harm Hosni’s bid to become the next director general of the UNESCO,” said Hawwas. “The Jewish monuments are Egyptian monuments … they are part of us and part of our culture”, he said
He added that the Ministry spends L.E. 700m annually on the restoration and development of archaeological sites, especially the ones which were damaged after the earthquake of October 1992.
This seems to be part of a trend I’ve noticed over the last 18 months or so, highlighting SCA work on post – Pharaonic sites, such as the Rosetta Museum (highlighting the Ottoman heritage in the city), the rebuild of the Abu Haggag mosque in Luxor and the long term Islamic Cairo projects, the last of which was first mooted back in the early 2000′s, but has only recently really begun to make an widely publicised impact.
It will be interesting to see how this develops, and whether this will mean a long term broadening of the SCA’s focus, and the implications of that for Pharaonic era monuments and artifacts.