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June 28, 2016 6:09 pm

Jews Portrayed Sympathetically in Egyptian TV Series; Public Backlash Causes Actors, Directors to Deny Support for Normalization With Israel

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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Shots from two Egyptian TV shows portraying Jews in sympathetic light.  Photo: Screenshot, via Elder of Ziyon.

Shots from two Egyptian TV shows portraying Jews in sympathetic light. Photo: Screenshot, via Elder of Ziyon.

For the second year in a row, Egyptian television is portraying Jews in a positive light during Ramadan, much to the chagrin of some of the public and members of the country’s media, pro-Israel blogger Elder of Ziyon reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, this year’s series that is relatively sympathetic to the Tribe – through one of its characters — is called “Mammon and Associates.” Egyptian press coverage of the backlash the show has elicited includes a “defense” of the show’s directors, who – Elder of Ziyon paraphrases – “are generally uniformly anti-Zionist and against any sort of ‘normalization’ with Israel,” quick to make a distinction between Jews and the Jewish state.

Last year, as Elder of Ziyon reported at the time, an Egyptian actress portraying the role of a Jewish woman in a series launched on Ramadan, released a statement to assure viewers that the show’s intention was not to “beautify the face of Israel.”

Menna Shalabi, co-star of “Haret al-Yahood” (“Jewish Quarter”) – a historical drama about Egypt’s vanished Jewish community – “pleaded for critics and the public not to rush to judgment on the work before its full release.”

Elder of Ziyon quoted a Times of Israel description of the series, launched on June 18, 2015 for the Ramadan holiday:

The plot … unfolds in Cairo between two landmark events in 20th century Egyptian history: the 1952 Revolution — which replaced the ruling monarchy with the militaristic Free Officers Movement led by Muhammad Naguib and Gamal Abdel Nasser — and the 1956 Suez Crisis, known in Israel as the Kadesh Operation and in Egypt as the Tripartite Aggression.

It depicts a love story between Ali, an Egyptian army officer played by Iyad Nassar, and Laila, a young Jewish woman, played by Mona Shalabi. As one might expect, the romance is marred by the rising wave of Egyptian nationalism and the social tensions brought about by the creation of Israel.

According to Elder of Ziyon, Menna said that there is a difference between the state of Israel “that adopts the idea of ​​occupation” and the Jewish religion and Jews as human beings — as citizens who have lived a long time in Egypt. He concluded: “One doesn’t have to read between the lines to see that she has been criticized in social media for the role and she is worried that she might be a target.”

The TV dramas, he said, have emerged in a sea of otherwise antisemitic sentiment expressed in Egyptian newspapers. He cited an op-ed that appeared in the most widely read daily, Al Ahram, last month, which uses the following classical trope:

Jewish Talmudic plans and their desire to enslave the world are written in the Talmud…The goal of the hidden conspiracy of the Jews is the actual control of the world, having has economic control and flood the world with their financial loans. America is living under a debt of $ 15 trillion, and France, hundreds of billions more, and like England, Italy, Spain and others, the question is: who lent these countries this money? Actual control does not come from conventional military occupation, but by placing all the existing governments and peoples under a unified global government.

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  • Yale

    I wonder what the Egyptian “man-in-the street’s” response would be to dissemination of the reality that much of the money being borrowed by the US and European powers comes from the Arab oil producing states, i.e., from Muslims who expect to earn interest on it.

  • the public reaction to the series is very disappointing. if the Egyptian people place themselves in the grip of this irrational, paranoid, hatred, there is little hope for peace.

    the media, the religious and other leaders that spread this hatred are harming the Jews, of course, but, they are harming their own people, the people that they purport to want to help: if one explains all of life’s travails by blaming the Jews, a confrontation with the actual, remediable, causes of distress is avoided.

  • Oh, if only the accusations were based on truth …. Imagine the USA owing Israel and the Jews hundreds of billions of dollars, not to mention England, France, Italy, Spain and others.
    If the journalists don’t watch their steps, Israel may just purchase Egypt and fire them !!!
    I would LOVE Israel to have the ability to control the world !!! We could solve all our problems in a flash.

  • Markus Goeldi

    The very last sentence in “the trope” is strangely enough correct.A One World Government is on the way and yes it is being organized by the people who direct the money.Because there are some Jews involved it has nothing to do with the Jewish population worldwide!

  • the egyptian and moslem media –radio newspapers and tv– have been demonizing jews and israel since at least 1945 (the moslem brotherhood since 1930s). so it’ll take at least one generation or two (70+ yrs) before the masses can even consider us human. the intellectuals more than 100, but then theyve always been slower stupider and narrow minded. so it’s a good try on govt’s part, but no surprise at result.

  • Martin Kessler

    Quickly produce a series exactly like the one in Egypt but highlight how generous, enlightened, generous, warm-hearted, fair-minded, honorable, decent, tolerant, ethical, wise, wonderful neighbors the Egyptians are – and lay it on thick!

  • ART

    If anyone wants to read the Camp David Accords there was a key provision whereby Egypt agreed to normalize relations with Israel, including an end to incitement, cultural exchanges, etc. You can see the success of the agreement and the chances of a real people to people peace, and this is hailed as a successful peace treaty

  • Yaakov

    Jews are indeed human beings who follow the Jewish religion and who have lived in Egypt for ages. They are not a “Tribe,” a term that perpetuates a false ethnic definition, which in turn helps perpetuate anti-Jewish sentiment.