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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Last Jews in Egypt happy with army takeover

My grandmother a"h (peace be upon her) was in Israel in 1980 while I was studying in yeshiva. In the post-Camp David euphoria, she suggested that we visit Egypt together during my Pesach vacation. And so, we did. We flew Tel Aviv to Cairo on El Al, spent three days staying in the Sheharezade Hotel along the banks of the Nile (right near the 6th of October bridge you've all seen in the news and probably not far from Tahrir Square), spent a day in Cairo, flew to Luxor one day to see the tombs of the kings (50 degrees Celsius in March - my grandmother dehydrated in the heat), and then were taken by a driver to Alexandria on the third day. Everywhere we went (and we had private tour guides for the entire trip), my grandmother begged them to take us to a synagogue. So we saw the outside of Cairo's main synagogue and the outside of the Rambam (Maimonides) synagogue, and we drove past a Jewish square in Alexandria. The only Jew we met was the caretaker at the Maimonides synagogue.

I mention all this because I was surprised to discover that there are still 14 Jews - all women - left who live in Cairo. Not surprisingly, they are all happier to have the army in charge than the Muslim Brotherhood.
Haroun, the president of the Egyptian Jewish community, doesn’t enjoy hearing anti-Semitic slurs on the street. She gets nervous when she hears Egyptians are burning the churches of Coptic Christians, a much larger religious minority than the country’s tiny Jewish community.
She assumes that most of her compatriots have forgotten there are any Jews left in Egypt.
But when protesters filled Cairo’s Tahrir Square at the end of June calling on President Mohamed Morsi to step down, she was right there with them.
“The amount of people in Tahrir was breathtaking,” Haroun told JTA. “The unity between people was breathtaking. Some of the people recognized me because I was on TV. They were shaking my hand and telling me, ‘God bless you. You are a real Egyptian.’ ”
Haroun, 61, is the youngest of the 14 women who make up Cairo’s dwindling Jewish community. Most are now in their 80s, living off charity and rental income from properties the community has owned for generations.
But though small in number, Haroun says the community is proud of its country and, like many Egyptians, supportive of the army’s campaign to quell Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.
...
Jews have lived in Egypt for millennia. Around the time of Israel’s founding in 1948, the community was estimated to number 75,000, but in the decades that followed the vast majority fled.
Those that remain are happy to call Egypt home, Haroun says. Although she has relatives in several European countries, she vows to “never, never, never” leave.
“I’m very proud to be here,” she said. “I want to do whatever I can to help. We are a strong people. I am very happy now that people [are] in the street. Instead of talking about football, they are talking politics. There is more awareness about the importance of our country.”
On Tuesday, CNN reported that the White House was withholding some military aid to Egypt in protest of the military’s violent crackdown on Morsi supporters. But for Haroun, the army’s assertion of control is a welcome development she sees as “fighting terrorism.”
Haroun says the Jewish community thus far has not experienced any anti-Semitism as a result of the fighting — probably, she says, because it’s so small.
Under Morsi’s rule, however, it was a different story.
 Read the whole thing.

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1 Comments:

At 1:38 AM, Blogger ... said...

They are all Israel-haters married to Muslim/ Christian men. They are as "Jewish" as Soros. They only care about some communal Jewish property that now are worth big bucks.
There are many texts about these "Jewish" women here: http://jewishrefugees.blogspot.com/

 

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