In his dissertation, Dr. Haim said that the construction of the largest of these four synagogues was lower than street level because of discrimination by the Islamic religious authorities who demanded that churches and synagogues should be lower than mosques, while at the same time he said that the authorities did not allow the construction of new churches and synagogues, so only their restoration was allowed.
Hamdi Zaki, Egypt's former tourism advisor in Spain was able to address these comments, after congratulating his friend Francisco Rivero. He said that there is no paragraph (sura) in the Koran that discriminates against either Jews or Christians, nor that Islam forbids the building of synagogues or churches, but quite the opposite. It shows the tolerance of Islam in the splendour of Al Andalus, under the Caliphate, where there was a remarkable coexistence between the citizens of the three religions.
Dr. Haim replied that he completely agreed with him and said that this was concretised in the presence of three friends, referring to him as a Jew, Francisco Rivero as a Christian and Hamdi as a Muslim. Hamdi concluded his speech by mentioning Camilo José Cela's novel "Jews, Moors and Christians" and that the tolerance of his religion is such that Mohammed himself had married an Egyptian Coptic Christian and another who was Jewish and that, if it were up to me, I wouldn't mind doing the same as the Prophet".
In Hervás, Jews the most
The most populous of the Spanish Jewish quarters is Barcelona, and there is even a saying for the Extremaduran city of Hervás that goes: "In Hervás, Jews the most", but the most attractive is Toledo, the ancient capital of Spain, and the city of the Three Cultures: Jewish, Christian and Muslim, but all the municipalities have, in their medieval complexes, an architectural, historical, environmental and cultural heritage, a legacy of the Jewish communities that inhabited them. There is so much interest in belonging to this association of cities that there are still eight more waiting to join if they meet the necessary requirements.
The philosophy of this public network of Spanish cities is the defence of the historical heritage and Jewish legacy, promoting cultural, tourist and academic projects and carrying out a policy of exchange of national and international experiences that contribute to the knowledge and mutual respect of peoples, cultures and traditions. It has its own cuisine and even the popular Spanish stew, which is a very typical dish in Madrid, is based on Jewish adafina.
Many of these cities of Jewish origin are Unesco World Heritage Sites, such as Ávila, Cáceres, Córdoba, Segovia and Toledo. There is a very important fact in Spain for foreign citizens who can prove their Jewish ancestry, and that is that they can obtain Spanish nationality if they can prove their roots. That is why there are up to 45,000 people here to date who have managed to become Spanish and are settled especially in Madrid, Barcelona and Malaga, as well as other places in Spain.
As a person interested in the Jewish world, I dealt with this subject at a congress held in Zamora about four years ago, a subject that affected me because I have been the official chronicler of the town of Las Brozas in Cáceres for more than 25 years.