No more letters from Cairo....Levana Zamir is cut off from her Egyptian friends (Maariv)
Egyptian Jews in Israel are glued to their TV screens, anxiously following events on the Cairo street. But they have a feeling they have seen it all before, Levana Zamir tells Akhikam Moshe David in the Israeli daily Maariv. Translation from the Hebrew:
The recent images of riots in Egypt are 'deja vu' for the Jews from Egypt in Israel, reviving sights of the streets and smells of Cairo, which can never be again what it once was. For Levana Zamir who today lives in Tel Aviv, the recent events did not come as a surprise. It is like closing a circle: She and her Vidal family suffered the anger and rage of the Egyptian population in the late Forties, now directed against wealthy Egyptians and the government.
Since Thursday she has been glued to the TV, trying to identify her remaining friends in Egypt and looking in disbelief at what is happening in her native country.
"All these days, I was thinking how proud I am of the Egyptian people," she says. "I have friends in Egypt, but I cannot ‘phone them or send them an email, because it could do harm to them. Even in normal times Egyptian censorship makes it hard, and it certainly does now", says Zamir, who is President of The International Organization of Jews from Egypt, and of The Israel-Egypt Friendship Association.
"When I see the flames and the looting, it is impossible not to recall what they did to the Jews. The Egyptian population in its poverty and anger lashed out at us in 1952, burning and looting Jewish businesses. Today it is doing the same thing to the Egyptian elite," she explains. "Only this time, the hatred against Jews has been replaced by hatred against rich Egyptians".
The Jewish community in Egypt is almost non-existent. Only a few remain. The Egyptian authorities are careful to preserve the ancient synagogues, mainly as archaeological relics. The police have stopped guarding those synagogues, and in Cairo they have been replaced by military guards. But there is still anxiety and concern lest the Great Eliahu Hanavi Synagogue, symbol of the once glorious Jewish Community of Alexandria, fall into the hands of looters.
Maariv, 31 January 2011