Russian tycoon funds digitizing Jewish manuscript collection

JERUSALEM - A Russian billionaire is funding an Israeli project to digitize a major collection of Jewish manuscripts seized by the Soviets 100 years ago.

Israel's National Library and the Russian State Library on Tuesday announced an agreement to digitize the Gunzburg collection's rare manuscripts, a project enabled by an unspecified "generous donation" from Ziyavudin Magomedov's Peri Foundation.

The 49-year-old tycoon is Russia's 58th-wealthiest person, with an estimated worth of $1.5 billion, according to Forbes. His foundation has financed heritage projects across Russia, particularly in his native Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim republic.

The Gunzburg collection contains around 2,000 Jewish manuscripts and thousands of printed volumes dating back centuries. It was sold to the forerunner of Israel's national library in 1917, but Russian authorities seized it before it left the country.

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