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June 4, 2015 12:34 pm

Another Positive Sign for Jews From the Egyptian Government

avatar by Elder of Ziyon

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A torah scroll. Photo: Wiki Commons.

A torah scroll. Photo: Wiki Commons.

Egypt’s National Center for Translation has just released an Arabic translation of the Torah.

To be precise, they converted Rav Saadia Gaon’s 10th century translation of the Torah to Judeo-Arabic into Arabic itself. (Judeo-Arabic is mostly Arabic with Hebrew letters.)

The Egyptian scholars who published the book emphasize that R’ Saadia was born in Egypt (in Fayoum, identified by R’ Saadia himself as the Biblical Pitom), and that his philosophy and translations were heavily influenced by Islam. They even claim that he borrows Quranic texts in some of his translations to Arabic.

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They don’t emphasize that R’ Saadia moved to Eretz Yisrael when he was in his teens to study in Tiberias. Yes, he was a Zionist! (He ended up heading a major academy in Babylonia.)

This article is quite positive towards R’ Saadia, and is part of a change in tone in Egyptian media towards Jews in recent months. (This story itself was mentioned in several newspapers.)

I’ve briefly mentioned a new Ramadan TV series called “Jewish Quarter” that looks back nostalgically at when Jews lived in Egypt.

There was another article recently that sadly explained that Egypt’s Jewish community, which numbered 80,000 in 1947, has dwindled down to only seven elderly women.

A recent Egyptian museum lecture was entitled “One God, three religions” and included the Jewish woman who leads the Egyptian community along with  prominent Islamic and Coptic leaders.

It seems likely that this new attitude towards Jews is related to President Sisi’s administration.

It takes a while for attitudes to change but, at least with Egyptian media, this change is noticeable.

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  • JACQUELINE SASSOON

    gostaria de enviar para meus amigos, textos que expliquem a nossa saída do Egito, pode ser pelo
    Facebook ou e-mail (jacsassoon22@gmail.com), porque ninguem entende o que se passou realmente !!

  • Jacob Feuerwerker

    In 1947 there were well over 120,000 Jews in Egypt. Over 80,000 Egyptian citizens, & about 40,000 non-citizens, mostly Ashkenazic Refugees.

    • Edgarb

      Absolutely not true
      Most were Sephardic including ladinos from turkey , Greeks and Moroccan Jews who immigrated in the 19 century and in Cairo Jews that were there for centuries
      The eshkanasi were few in numbers In Egypt , Yiddish and gefiltafish was as foreign to us as Eskimo pie

      The population reached its height in 1947 with 80,000 .. By 1956 the number was 70,000
      The great immigration was between 59 to 64

  • jim

    Thank you for publishing this. Something positive! If this is the direction that the Sisi administration is taking, then this is good news for a change in the middle east.

  • Lynne T

    Which is why Orange Telecom’s CEO’s claim that he is bowing to pressure from Egypt, among other Arab states, to boycott Israel.

  • Peter

    The best and the most sensible thing that Egypt can do for it’s citizens is to grow the peace between the two countries to the point that adapts many of the Israeli technologies and develop a real mutual trade in all aspects of life.

  • Fritz Kohlhaas

    Obama will hate this!

  • Very interesting article. Never knew this.

  • steven L

    Sisi plays a critical role in the relation of Egypt with Israel. IL has a lot to offer to Egypt and her people. Genocidal religious fanaticism is detrimental to Egypt.

  • Your articles are very informative. I would like to forward some articles to friends.
    However, in the section marked “Shared this Article” lists the following:
    Twitter
    Facebook
    Digg
    Stumble
    Print
    Can you add: Email
    This would make it easier to forward articles.
    Thank you.

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