Sunday, September 09, 2012

Egypt Continues To Make Life Difficult For Jews Both Inside And Outside Of Egypt

While the lines of communication between Egypt and Israel appear to remain open, the ties between Egypt and Jews remain problematic.

Remember the lulav scare last year: Egypt bans lulav exports to Israel, Diaspora:
Egypt has banned the export of palm fronds to Israel and Jewish communities abroad, leading to fears of a lulav shortage for the Sukkot holiday.

Israel had previously imported about 700,000 palm fronds a year in the run-up to Sukkot, which is about 40 percent of the annual demand, Haaretz reported. Another 700,000 of the 2 million lulavs used in Diaspora Jewish communities also come from Egypt.
Then in January of this year, it was reported that Egypt To Bar Jews From Visiting Grave Site Of Abu Hatzeira:
Cairo - Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said Wednesday it had told Israel that it would not be “appropriate” for Israeli pilgrims to make an annual visit to the tomb of a 19th-century Jewish holy man in the Nile Delta, as activists mobilized to block the pilgrimage route.

...An Islamist politician involved in organizing protests against the march meanwhile said that visiting Abu Hatzira’s gravesite in the village of Daymouta, 180 kilometers (112 miles) north of Cairo would be a “suicide mission” for Israelis, because of popular opposition to their presence in Egypt.

“Normalization (of relations) with Israel is forced on the people, and the visits too come against the will of the people and despite popular rejection,” said Gamal Heshmat of the Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s best organized political group.
Now there is word that the last remaining synagogue in Egypt will be closed during Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur:
Egyptian authorities have ordered the cancellation of Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur celebrations at Alexandria's Eliahou Hanabi Synagogue due to security concerns.

Several Israelis have already been denied permission to attend the festivals, the synagogue's Rabbi Abraham Nino-Dayan told the BBC.

It will be the first time since the synagogue was built in 1836 that the festivals will not take place.

“This is the end of Jewish life in Egypt,” the president of the International Association of Egyptian Jews in Israel, Livana Ramez, told the BBC.
Elder of Ziyon clarifies that Egypt is preventing the shul from having a minyan for Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur:
For the first time in some 2000 years, Alexandria will not have a minyan (quorum) for Rosh Hashanah. Their recent practice of importing people to help make the minyan will not occur this year because of the security situation in Egypt. Whether this was an explicit decision by Egyptian authorities or because of fear from the Egyptian Jewish community is not really the issue - the fact is that the Egyptian government will not protect any Jews who wish to visit as they have every year.
This is all part of a long-term trend.

Shiraz Maher writes how Egyptian discrimination against minorities in general has decimated the Jewish community:
the Jewish presence in Egypt has steadily declined over much of the last century, and has now dwindled to just a handful in Cairo and Alexandria. A study by Stanley Urman of Jews for Justice from Arab Countries has found that this exodus started with the first Nationality Code in Egypt, passed in May 1926.

The Code stipulated that an Egyptian born to a 'foreign" father – even if the father had been born in Egypt and had been previously recognized as Egyptian – was only able to claim citizenship if the father could prove that he:
…belonged racially to the majority of the population of a country whose language is Arabic or whose religion is Islam.
This law effectively blocked Jews from claiming Egyptian citizenship and relegated them to a lesser legal status in their own country. Later, because the Jews were not officially Egyptian, the government was able to expel a number of them.

This problem was accentuated in 1947, when amendments were passed which stipulated that at least 75% of administrative employees in any company had to by Egyptian, while 90% of the overall workforce also had to be Egyptian. This, of course, struck against Jewish commerce in the country, placed stifling strictures on some of their business, and accelerated the departure of more Jews.
The Jewish population in Egypt has been shrinking, as Egypt has also found other ways to inconvenience Jews both inside and outside of Egypt -- as in holding back on Lulavim, preventing Jews from visiting Jewish graves and now preventing Jews from praying with a minyan in the last remaining Jewish synagogue in Egypt.

This is one of the stories that is being ignored by the West and by the media -- just as it is paying scant attention to the fate of the Copts in Egypt and Christians in general in the Muslim world.
If you found this post interesting or informative, please it below. Thanks!

Technorati Tag: and and .

No comments: