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December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘President Mohamed Morsi’

Egyptian Jews: We support Military’s Fight against Terrorism

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

When Magda Haroun was out on the streets during the unrest now rocking Egypt’s capital, she saw someone standing over the body of a dead soldier.

“Not even a Jew would do this,” she heard him say.

Haroun, the president of the Egyptian Jewish community, doesn’t enjoy hearing anti-Semitic slurs on the street. She gets nervous when she hears Egyptians are burning the churches of Coptic Christians, a much larger religious minority than the country’s tiny Jewish community. She assumes that most of her compatriots have forgotten there are any Jews left in Egypt.

But when protesters filled Cairo’s Tahrir Square at the end of June calling on President Mohamed Morsi to step down, she was right there with them.

“The amount of people in Tahrir was breathtaking,” Haroun told JTA. “The unity between people was breathtaking. Some of the people recognized me because I was on TV. They were shaking my hand and telling me, ‘God bless you. You are a real Egyptian.’ ”

Haroun, 61, is the youngest of the 14 women who make up Cairo’s dwindling Jewish community. Most are now in their 80s, living off charity and rental income from properties the community has owned for generations.

But though small in number, Haroun says the community is proud of its country and, like many Egyptians, supportive of the army’s campaign to quell Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.

The latest round of unrest in Egypt began last month after mass protests in Tahrir Square led the army to depose Morsi, the country’s first democratically elected leader, and install a new government. The Muslim Brotherhood denounced the move as a coup and confrontations raged between its supporters and the military, leaving more than 1,000 Egyptians dead in just the last week alone.

Jews have lived in Egypt for millennia. Around the time of Israel’s founding in 1948, the community was estimated to number 75,000, but in the decades that followed the vast majority fled.

Those that remain are happy to call Egypt home, Haroun says. Although she has relatives in several European countries, she vows to “never, never, never” leave.

“I’m very proud to be here,” she said. “I want to do whatever I can to help. We are a strong people. I am very happy now that people [are] in the street. Instead of talking about football, they are talking politics. There is more awareness about the importance of our country.”

On Tuesday, CNN reported that the White House was withholding some military aid to Egypt in protest of the military’s violent crackdown on Morsi supporters. But for Haroun, the army’s assertion of control is a welcome development she sees as “fighting terrorism.”

Haroun says the Jewish community thus far has not experienced any anti-Semitism as a result of the fighting — probably, she says, because it’s so small.

Under Morsi’s rule, however, it was a different story. Soon after taking office, the government voted to end a monthly subsidy of $1,000 to the Jewish community it had provided for more than 20 years.

“The way they wanted things to go, it’s a fascist movement,” she said. “I hope we’ll start a new era in Egypt where everyone will be equal regardless of political beliefs. I am very confident in the future.”

Another believer in a more tolerant Egyptian future is Levana Zamir, whose family was expelled from Cairo when she was 12. Now living in Tel Aviv, Zamir remembers an Egypt that strived to be open to the world.

“I’m very proud of Egyptians that they want to go back to the secularism and cosmopolitanism of Egypt,” said Zamir, the president of the Association of Jews from Egypt in Israel. “They need someone like [former President Anwar] Sadat, who wanted to open the Arab world.”

Haroun says that as much as the casual anti-Semitism she hears bothers her, she believes it comes from Egyptians’ unfamiliarity with Judaism.

“It’s all talking, there is no action,” she said. “The talk about anti-Semitism is ignorance. The Egyptians are loving. They love each other. It’s ignorance that pushes them to hate and to burn churches.”

Egypt’s unrest will prevent the community from celebrating Rosh Hashanah together in a few weeks. In past years, the community has hosted festive meals and invited foreign dignitaries and non-Jewish Egyptians.

Egyptian Government: No Deal with Muslim Brotherhood

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Egyptian presidential media adviser Ahmed El-Muslimany has denied a report by Reuters that the government offered the Muslim Brotherhood ministerial posts, to release several of its jailed members and to unfreeze the group’s assets as part of a deal to end the political crisis, Egyptian state news agency MENA reported.

Reuters reported earlier, citing a military source, that the offer was made in exchange for the Brotherhood to end their sit-in protests.

The Muslim Brotherhood and its allies have been holding two large sit-ins in Cairo and Giza demanding former president Mohamed Morsi to be reinstated and have held daily rallies to voice their demands since June 28.

On July 3, the Egyptian military deposed Morsi and established a political roadmap in cooperation with the opposition, which calls for constitutional amendments, parliamentary and presidential elections.

Military Takeover Expected as Millions Riot in Egypt

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

On the eve of June 30th, President Mohamed Morsi’s one-year’s anniversary in office, millions are expected to storm the streets of Egypt’s cities, and after a weekend that saw at least 8 killed, including a Jewish-American student, and with President Morsi and his family hauled out of the presidential palace into a protective compound – Al Ahram is saying that all eyes are turned to the Army to take matters into its hands, at least temporarily.

The army has moved troops near Egypt’s major cities, to be in a position to offer support to the police in putting down violence.

The Tamarod (‘Rebel’), a signature drive calling on President Mohamed Morsi to step down, claims to have gathered more than 22 million signatures.

Egypt is anticipating its biggest wave of protests since the January 25 Revolution on Sunday, with the demonstrators this time calling for the Muslim Brotherhood’s President Morsi to step down and for early presidential elections. The liberal and leftist groups are preparing for a face-off with the president.

Islamist forces are staging a sit-in—since Friday—at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo’s Nasr City, in support of Morsi. They held a similar rally last week, which numbered in the hundreds of thousands.

Fierce clashes broke out in Alexandria, Egypt’s second largest city, often ending in clashes between the president’s supporters and opponents.

Muslim Brotherhood offices across Egypt have been set on fire. The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political arm of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, strongly condemned attacks.

“Our members who were present in our provincial offices were committed to total peacefulness when they were abruptly attacked with guns, swords and petrol bombs by [Mubarak's defunct National Democratic Party] thugs as well as other infiltrators who are given political cover by [opposition umbrella] the National Salvation Front and [anti-Morsi signature drive] Rebel campaign,” read a statement released by the party Friday night.

Violent clashes erupted between Morsi supporters and opponents Friday afternoon in the Alexandria district of Sidi Gaber. The Egyptian Ministry of Health reported two dead. The FJP’s office was set on fire.

Also on Friday, tens of thousands of anti-Morsi protesters gathered in several parts of Cairo and marched to Tahrir Square – the flashpoint of Egypt’s revolution.

As the entire country is about to be yanked through violence the likes of which it hasn’t seen in over a year, only the army is able to restore law and order.

In a speech Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi gave last Sunday, he signaled that the army could step forward again to play a role in the political process at this critical juncture. “With this speech, General El-Sisi has presented himself as an alternative for the near future,” Former deputy chief of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service (GIS) General Hossam Kheirallah told Al Ahram. “Without going overboard in praise, his speech reflects many virtues in his character. He is the only person who succeeded in bringing his institution [the army] back from the brink of disaster in a state in which virtually everything else had collapsed within the space of a year.”

“The army, at present, no longer feels confident that the current political entities are capable of realizing the ambitions of the people and that the army will have to step in sooner or later,” El-Sisi said in his speech.

It is unknown just how well armed the demonstrators are going to be on Sunday. So far, there have been reports of weapons getting into the hands of civilians, so much so that Egypt’s Dar Al-Ifta, the main authority that issues Islamic fatwas (religious edicts), said on Saturday that carrying weapons during demonstrations is religiously wrong because it runs the risk of killing, which is punishable by God.

Morsi to Cut Off Relations with Syria

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Egyptian’s Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi announced Saturday he will cut diplomatic ties with the regime of  Bashar Assad and close Cairo’s embassy in Damascus.

He also demanded that Hezbollah leave Syria adding, “There is no business or place for Hezbollah in Syria.”

Morsi spoke at a rally organized by hardline Islamists, whose clerics told approximately 20,000 people that Morsi should assist the rebels trying to bring down Assad.

Invest or Gamble? Egypt Sells Islamic Bonds

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

The Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt, headed by President Mohammed Morsi, is set to issue “Islamic bonds,” not to be confused with the highly successful Israeli bonds that helped the Jewish state get off it feet after its re-establishment in 1948.

Unlike Israel, modern Egypt has been around for a long time, but the Arab Spring rebellion that ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has driven the country into bear-bankruptcy, despair and social rivalries that have pitted Muslim sects against each other as well as Christian Copts.

Morsi wants to sell bonds to ease the ballooning deficit. The bonds also represent another move to make Egypt an Islamic country.

Liberal Egyptians and the radical Muslim Salafist opposition party are against the sale of Islamic bonds. The liberals are against an Islamic state, while the Salafists are concerned that foreign investors will take over Egypt’s private assets. The law allowing the sale of Islamic bonds prohibits their sale for state-owned assets.

Muslim Brothers’ Spring: Police Shoot Protestors in Tahrir Sq. (Video)

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Photos circulated on social media Tuesday of activist Gaber Salah Gaber, with claims that he was killed in clashes on the streets surrounding Mohamed Mahmoud. Head of the emergency department at Qasr al-Aini Hospital Hesham Abu Aisha says Gaber is currently on life support in the intensive care unit.

He told MENA that Gaber was shot by rubber bullets in his head, neck, chest and arm. Aisha added that Gaber has a hematoma on the right lung.

Aisha said that shots had injured Gaber’s brain and that surgical intervention would be useless.

Clashes that began on Monday flared up again after a day of calm on Tuesday evening with both protesters and police throwing rocks at one another in the area surrounding Mohamed Mahmoud Street.

Clashes broke out in downtown Cairo Monday evening after security forces used tear gas to disperse protesters and prevent them from approaching the Interior Ministry.

Protesters “of unknown affiliations” attempted to break into the Shura Council (the parliament’s upper house) building and the nearby Qasr Al-Eini Hospital, according to state-run news agency MENA. The entrance to the square from Qasr Al-Eini Street has also been closed off.

According to Al Ahram, also a semi-official publication, clashes between police forces and protesters, which have erupted intermittently since Monday afternoon, continued into Tuesday evening after protesters regrouped on Qasr Al-Eini Street adjacent to Tahrir Square.

Gunfire was still being heard intermittently around the flashpoint square, according to MENA. Earlier Tuesday evening, an Ahram Online reporter saw volunteer doctors attempting to remove birdshot pellets from a protester’s body.

Al Ahram reported that skirmishes broke out Monday afternoon when protesters commemorating the anniversary of last year’s clashes began fighting with Central Security Forces near interior ministry headquarters on Nubar Street.

But no one actually knows why the clashes started in the first place. The interior ministry said that fighting began when “lurkers” threw stones and Molotov cocktails at security officers on Qasr Al-Eini Street.

Dozens were injured in the subsequent clashes, including two currently in critical condition.

Eight policemen and 20 soldiers were injured during the clashes on Monday, the interior ministry said.

Human rights activists and lawyers said a number of protesters had been arrested in Tahrir Square early Tuesday morning.

According to Egypt Independent, members of youth and political groups in the city of Mahalla in the Nile Delta governorate of Gharbiya besieged a police station on Tuesday evening, chanting slogans denouncing the Interior Ministry and the Muslim Brotherhood and demanding the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi and retribution for victims of the Mohamed Mahmoud Street violence.

They also demanded the dismissal of Hesham Qandil’s Cabinet and bring to trial those responsible for the Assiut train accident that killed over 50 children on Saturday. They said they would continue to demonstrate until their demands are met, and warned President Morsy of a revolution that would topple him.

Egypt Recalls Ambassador to Israel

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Al-Ahram newspaper online reports: “The Egyptian State TV announced shortly after 9pm that President Mohamed Morsi has recalled the Egyptian ambassaor to Israel, Atef Mohamed Salem to protest Israeli attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/egypt-recalls-ambassador-to-israel/2012/11/14/

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