Sunday, July 11, 2010

Egyptian Jewish leader convicted of fraud

News has just broken that octagenarian Carmen Weinstein, the de facto leader of Egypt's tiny Jewish community, could face three years in jail after her conviction by an Egyptian court for fraud, according to the Earth Times. After years of Mrs Weinstein taking great pains to distance herself from Israel in order to protect her community, it is ironical that the man now calling for Egyptian Jews not to be victimised as a result of Mrs Weinstein's conviction is the Israeli ambassador to Egypt, Yitzhak Levanon.

Update to the update: According to Ynet News Weinstein was sentenced on Saturday to three years in prison after being convicted of defrauding an Egyptian businessman out of three million Egyptian pounds (around 520,000 dollars).

According to Israel Radio Carmen Weinstein will be fined an equivalent in Egyptian pounds of 30,000 Israeli shekels. She will face a three-year suspended sentence.

Cairo - The Israeli ambassador to Cairo, Yitzhak Levanon, has asked the Egyptian government to protect Jews in Egypt, following the conviction of the head of the Jewish community in Cairo on charges of fraud, media reports said Sunday.

Carmen Weinstein was sentenced on Saturday to three years in jail after being convicted of defrauding an Egyptian businessman of three million Egyptian pounds (around 520,000 dollars).She had sold him a building* which did not belong to her and then refused to return his money, the court said.

Al-Jareeda newspaper reported that Levanon sent a note protesting the sentence to the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, accusing the judiciary of "oppression and cruelty" and saying it reflected a bias against Weinstein because of her religion.

There are less than 100 Egyptian Jews in the country. They are the remaining members of what was once the most vibrant community in the region, after the mass expulsion of Egyptian Jews in the 1950s.

Read article in full

Jerusalem Post

* The Carmen Weinstein case could have been rigged to distract from a similar scandal involving two Egyptian MPs. Ovadia Yerushalmi summarises the story behind the sale of another Jewish site :

Two Egyptian members of parliament, Yahya Wahdane and Muhammad Abd el-Naby, tried to sell a Jewish synagogue and a historic property in Cairo to contractor Badr Amer. The contractor, who paid an advance of one million Egyptian pounds, destroyed part of the synagogue.

The fraud was exposed when a row broke out between the two members of Parliament. The two members of Parliament presented to the contractor fake documents indicating ownership of a Jewish synagogue and additional property belonging to the Jewish community. The MPs have been stripped of their immunity and they have been investigated by the police. The contractor was arrested in the summer of 2009 and accused of taking over the synagogue.

The neglected and abandoned synagogue is on Sakaliba street No. 16 in the Bab Alshaaria. The structure is characterized by unique architecture. The contractor Amer Bader destroyed, without licence, columns and a bridge connecting between the two buildings of the synagogue. The Star of David adorning the entrance gate was damaged.

Moreover, local residents took advantage of the fact that this is an abandoned synagogue and squatters moved in.

1. by: Hisham Al-miani from 28 September 2009.
2. By Tarek Abbas from 28 September 2009.
3. The weekly Rose al-Youssouf - from 19 June 2009, Issue No. 4227.


A Jew from Egypt said...

This is more than a fraud, and the suspended sentence is a piece of cake. Because as we all know, the building sold by CARMEN WEINSTEIN is the MIDRASH SYNAGOGUE at Sakaliba Street, as it was written in Masr el-Yom article a few months ago. We all saw that article.
The dozens of Egyptian people who invaded the building and were living there for years, did'nt want to leave and they went to court. This is the reason why Ms. Weinstein declared she never sold that Synagogue and refused to return the money...

A Jew from Egypt.

A worried Jew said...

And what about the Synagogue that Ms. Weinstein tried to sell so maliciously.
Only for that she deserves prison.
Hoping the Synagogue is not for sale anymore.
A worried Jew from the Diaspora

Moshe from Jerusalem said...

The question now is:
Can somebody do something to save that Synagogue from the hands of the Arab Contractor.
The second question is:
What can be done to save all the other Jewish properties from being sold by Ms. Carmen Weinstein.

Moise Rahmani said...

I cant' and don't believe that Carmen Weinstein did what its said.
I thing it's forged.

Ambassador Levanon may be right whn he says "

"Al-Jareeda newspaper reported that Levanon sent a note protesting the sentence to the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, accusing the judiciary of "oppression and cruelty" and saying it reflected a bias against Weinstein because of her religion."

Moise Rahmani

Anonymous said...

Right or wrong, it is a disgrace. Under those conditions, Carmen Weinstein cannot continue to perform as President of the Jewish community of Cairo.

Simon Sayegh said...

Vendre une Synagogue c'est absolument defendu, meme si la vente est faite legalement.
Yad Elokim a arrete cette vente, et Madame Weinstein est entrain de payer le prix.
Simon Sayegh, Tel-Aviv

J Levy said...

The story is full of inconsistencies and does not hold water. What is in it for Carmen Weinstein, an old lady in her eighties, whose family owned a large Stationery shop in the centre of Cairo ? How did she get involved with the two MPs ? People should not rush to judge her without knowing the full facts. In any case, the synagogue in Cairo must have been desecrated by the squatters and emptied of its contents so that it is just an old building now. Besides, I know of an old Ashkenazi synagogue in the East End of London which was sold to the Bengali community and became a mosque ! Who will eventually decide on the fate of the Jewish Community property in Egypt ?