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

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250 · Rachel Maissy-Noy

generation as well as the new one remain identical. As it is clearly de-
clared in many introductions and conclusions of their studies, Zionism
was and is still considered a threat to the Arab world. Therefore, despite
the fact that some Egyptian philosophers and leaders realized the im-
portance of recognizing the state of Israel and viewed the peace process
with it in a favorable light, important parts of Egyptian academia persist
in refusing to recognize the historic narrative of the Jews.
This unsympathetic approach of Egyptian researchers to the Jewish
narrative can be explained by the fact that historical examination is es-
sentially selective and is far from reflecting an objective historical pic-
ture. This is even more obvious when it comes to writing the history of
a nation with which one has religious, cultural, and territorial conflicts.
Another possible explanation for all this is that the expectations of the
Egyptian intelligentsia from the peace process have not been fulfilled,
and as a result it has strengthened their belief that the internal conditions
in Egypt and in other Arab countries do not as yet release them from the
role they have assumed or which was imposed on them to support the
Arab people in facing the Zionist challenge.


This article is based on a doctoral dissertation written for Bar-Ilan University
under the supervision of Professor Michael Laskier, to whom I extend my sin-
cere thanks for his encouragement, support, and guidance.

  1. Shahin Maqaryus, Ta ̓rikh al-Isra ̓iliyin (Cairo: Maṭba ̔at al-Muktaṭaf,
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    Ghunayma, Nuzhat al-Mushtaq fi Ta ̓rikh Yahud al- ̔Iraq (Baghdad: Maktabat al-
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  2. Yehoshafat Harkavi, ̔Emdat ha- ̔Aravim besikhsukh Yisra ̓el- ̔Arav (Tel-Aviv:
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  3. See, e.g., Ṣaber ̔Abd al-Raḥman Ṭu ̔ayma, al-Yahud bayna al-Din wal-Ta ̓rikh
    [Between Religion and History] (Cairo: Maktabat al-Nahḍa al-Miṣriyya, 1972),
    608; Zubayda Muḥammad ̔Aṭa, al-Yahud fi al- ̔Alam al- ̔Arabi, 2 vols. (Cairo:
    ̔Een, 2003), 1:21–23 (hereafter Zubayda ̔Aṭa, The Jews in the Arab World).

  4. Zubayda ̔Aṭa, The Jews in the Arab World, 1:24–29; cf. Muḥammad Bayumi,
    Banu Isra ̓iil (Alexandria: Dar al-Ma ̔rifa al-Jami ̔iyya, 1999), 146.

  5. Jamal al-Din Ḥamdan, al-Yahud Antrupulujiyyan [Jewish Anthropology]
    (Cairo: Dar al-Hilal, 1996), 120.

  6. Ḥidyab (Also known as Adiabene) was a Jewish emirate that existed on

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