Egypt’s Jews: The Rise, Fall and Revival of Multiple Identities

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by Najat Abdulhaq

Egypt’s Jews were once a solid component of Egyptian society; but this situation changed dramatically in the 1950s. Literature dealing with the long history of Egyptian Jewry is framed, and as such limited and distorted by, the boundaries of the Israeli and Egyptian/Arab nationalistic narratives that arose in the post-1948 Middle East. This eBook investigates the multiple identities of Egypt’s Jews in the pre-1948 Middle East. It questions established representations of these identities, on both sides of the divide, and discusses the revival of a recognition of multiple identities in Arab film and literature over the last decade.

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About the Author


Najat Abdulhaq

Najat Abdulhaq is a Palestinian scholar, born 1974 in Nablus and now based in Berlin. She obtained her first degree in economics at the Bir Zeit University, followed by a higher Diploma in economics and international relation at the University of Leipzig in Germany. In 2012, she received her PhD in Middle East Studies on the role of Egypt’s Jews and Greeks in the Egyptian economy 1885-1960 at the University of Erlangen, Germany. She is one of only a few Arab scholars working on the history of Egypt’s Jews and her study of the economic role of Egypt’s minorities is the first to engage heavily with archival materials and economic analysis. Her book, Jewish and Greek Communities in Egypt: Entrepreneurship and Business Before Nasser, was published by I.B. Tauris in February 2016.

Besides her academic work, Abdulhaq is a journalist who has worked as an editor for about 8 years at the Arabic service of Deutsche Welle TV in Berlin. Since June 2015, Abdulhaq has been project manager of the “Syrian Radio Network”, a grass roots media project of Syrian radio stations at the German NGO Media in Cooperation and Transition, MiCT, an NGO that works on media training in crisis and post-crisis regions.