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Thursday, April 18, 2013

New leader of dying Egyptian community is an anti-Zionist

On Thursday, Carmen Weinstein, the leader of the tiny remainder of a Jewish community in Egypt was buried in the dilapidated and damaged Jewish cemetery in Cairo:

After the service, Weinstein was buried in the Bassatine Jewish cemetery in a Cairo suburb. Her relatives said she wished to be buried alongside her parents, but sewage had flooded that part of the graveyard.

"Look at the humiliation and the filth in which we will be buried," said Haroun.

"But what to do? The area around should be developed, its residents must be allowed a decent life, so they preserve their surroundings," she said of the neighbouring slums.

Roger Bilboul, who came from France for the funeral, said he found the state of the graveyard "sad." "There was a metal door, it was stolen."

There are few gravestones left amid the rubbish. Most of the marble slabs have been stolen too.
The Haroun quoted is the new leader, Magda Haroun.
Egypt's small Jewish community will refuse Israeli offers of financial help for the
renovation of Egypt's ancient Jewish synagogues, Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website reported on Tuesday.

Magda Haroun, the new leader of Egypt's Jewish community, told Al-Ahram that she plans to contact UN heritage organisation UNESCO if she failed to find adequate funds for synagogue renovation.

Haroun stressed that Egypt's Jewish monuments belonged to Egypt's historical heritage, which extends over a very long period.

"Jewish temples are like the pyramids and the Sphinx," she said. "They are a part of Egypt's history that cannot be ignored."

"The sons of this community are Egyptians. We will live forever in Egypt because religion is for God and the nation is for everybody," Haroun said.
HuffPo notes that her father was an anti-Zionist:
Haroun said she considered herself Egyptian before Jewish, born and raised in the country.

Her father Chehata Haroun was a prominent Egyptian nationalist, one of the founders of the leftist Al Tagammu Party. He was known for his anti-Zionist politics and his defense of Egyptian Jews against accusations of having greater loyalty to Israel than to Egypt, at the peak of the Mideast wars.
Arabic media notes that her father actually volunteered to fight for Egypt in the Six Day War and wrote a famous letter asking to do so, and Magda says she wishes she could have joined him in fighting Israel (she was 13 at the time.) Chehata was also against the Camp David agreement to make peace with Israel.

When he died in 2001, his family refused to allow an Israeli rabbi to officiate at the funeral, and a rabbi from France was brought in instead.

Given this, it does not appear that Magda Haroun's anti-Zionism is an act.