Thursday, November 10, 2016

  • Thursday, November 10, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon

An April article in El Saba has started popping up on other Arab sites about Jews who continue to live secretly in Egypt, pretending to be Christians.

The article was prompted by the story of Dina Ovadia, the IDF soldier who grew up in Alexandria without knowing that she was Jewish. After some fundamentalist Muslims attacked them, her family escaped.

El Saba looked for other secret Jews in Alexandria, and it found some.

Dr. Majid, a professor at a university in the city, says of his family growing up, "I remember when we were practicing religious rituals in silence, fearing that others will know that we are Jews, in the late forties, and in the beginning of Nasser's rule, worried that we would be considered traitors to the homeland... the media and politicians took part in it."

Majid's grandfather went to a Catholic church and asked to change his religion for fear of attack on his house and store, and since then they worship in secret for fear of ostracism and persecution.

His mother created a miniature model synagogue in the family home as a place for her husband to worship.


He told his children that they are Jewish but that they are free to believe what they want.

His 80-year old mother says that most of their relatives fled in 1948, but her father who was a gold dealer in Upper Luxor went to Alexandria, where they were not known as Jews, and set up his business there. She says that many fellow gold dealers in Alexandria were secret Jews as well.

George Sweilem works as an accountant for a political party, also said that he is officially a Christian but his family is really Jewish. He claims that  there are hundreds of Jews pretending to be Muslims and Christians to avoid repercussions, although he claims that most of them are anti-Israel and love their homeland of Egypt.  

Nawal Darwish, a human rights researcher, is a Muslim of Jewish descent. She said she is not surprised there are some Jews who were hiding as Muslims or Christians, saying that it started in the 1940s and during the Nasser era out of fear for their families, and some of those families still take the same approach to protect themselves today.  

The newspaper then interviewed Egyptian and Islamic officials who claim that there is no discrimination against Jews and that no Jews were persecuted or expelled because of their religion.


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