The Divergence of Judaism and Islam. Interdependence, Modernity, and Political Turmoil

(Joyce) #1

248 · Rachel Maissy-Noy

Misr al-Fatat, a secret society that was organized in Alexandria during
the reign of ̓Isma ̔il with the main aim of awakening the political con-
sciousness of the Egyptians against the corrupt policy of the Hidaui.^48
Shalash further mentions the relationship between Ya ̔akov Ṣanu ̔a and
the national leader, Aḥmad ̔Urabi, who both opposed the corruption of
the royal family and called for “Egypt for the Egyptians.”
But the most interesting relationship between the Jews and Egyptians
about the national issue is the encounter of Muṣṭafa Kamal and the Jew-
ish politician Benjamin Ze ̓ev Herzl [prior to the first Zionist Congress]
to discuss the national issue.^49
Another important fact brought up by Shalash as proof of the feel-
ing of a common fate between the Jews and their environment is the
integration of the Jews in the Egyptian parties, especially in the Wafd
party. Among the members of this party he mentions the lawyer Felix Ben
Zaken, whom he presented as both a Zionist and an ardent defender. He
also mentions Zaki Shweika, who was friendly with Muṣṭafa al-Naḥḥas,
and Jozef de Pichotto, a member of parliament representing Wafd, as
well as Albert Mizraḥi, the editor of the newspaper Al-Tas ̔ira. Another
famous personality mentioned by Shalash in this context, as well as in
the research of ̔Awatef ̔Abd al-Raḥman and Siham Naṣṣar, was Leon
Castro, lawyer and journalist and later the head of the Zionist movement
in Egypt.
Apart from this official stand, Shalash describes the positive ap-
proach to the Jewish people manifested by famous journalists such as
Fares Nimer and Shahin Maqaryus as expressed in their newspapers,
Al-Muqtaṭaf and Al-Muqaṭam. He also describes in detail the nonhostile
attitude of leading intellectuals toward world Jewry and with regard to
the Zionist idea. To support this matter, he mentions the sympathy of the
mainstream Egyptian intelligentsia headed by Rifa ̔a al-Ṭahṭawi, Ṭaha
Ḥussain,^50 and ̔Abbas Maḥmud al- ̔Aqqad, at least until the 1920s, to the
special situation of World Jewry:

Rifa ̔a al-Ṭahṭawi and his students, Ṭaha Ḥussain, al- ̔Aqqad, al-
Mazini, and Haikal as well as al-Afghani and his students/disci-
ples, like Muḥammad ̔Abdu and Luṭfi al-Sayyed and others, mani-
fested only tolerance toward the Jews, turning a blind eye to Zionist
activity in Egypt. The other stream was limited. It was represented
by personalities like Rashid Riḍa and ̓Isma ̔il Maẓhar, a student
Free download pdf