Monday, December 31, 2007

Alexandria's Cecil Hotel could be test case

A major feature called 'It was their home' by Adi Schwartz has just appeared in Haaretz (Hebrew). It focuses on the case of the Cecil Hotel in Alexandria, where Winston Churchil once stayed. The hotel owners, the Metzger family, lived on the first floor.

The article tries to set the case of the Cecil Hotel in the context of the dispossession of close on one million Jews from Arab countries, and quotes the words of Irwin Cotler, Canadian ex-Justice minister, as well as those of Cairo-born Professor Ada Aharoni.

Here is an abstract (with thanks: Iraqijews):

In 1956 the Jewish owners of Cecil Hotel in Alexandria were expelled from Egypt. They left with one suitcase.

This year, after a 50-year struggle, the Egyptian government agreed to compensate them. The hotel's owner, Albert Metzger, died in Tanzania in the 1960s and his son Chris continued the struggle to recover the hotel. In 1996, the Egyptian Supreme Court in Cairo ruled that the hotel and all revenues accruing over the years belong to the Metzgers.

But only in June 2007 did the Egyptian government propose a deal whereby the government would agree to implement the court ruling but would immediately buy back the hotel from the Metzgers.

They are still deliberating about the price.

Read article in full (Hebrew)

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