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Cairo-born Israeli lampoons call for Egyptian Jews to return

JTA

January 4, 2013 | 10:04 am

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi signs a decree to put into effect the new constitution in Cairo on Dec. 25, 2012. Photo by Egyptian Presidency/Reuters

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi signs a decree to put into effect the new constitution in Cairo on Dec. 25, 2012. Photo by Egyptian Presidency/Reuters

A Cairo-born Israeli has grabbed headlines in leading Arab media with a letter mocking a top Egyptian official’s call for the return of Egypt’s Jews from Israel.

Azi Nagar’s letter, which received coverage in Al-Hayat and Aharam, ridicules the call made last week by Essam al-Erian, deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and an adviser to Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

“I basically asked al-Erian a few questions about my impending return,” Nagar told JTA, “like whether he would compensate me for my family’s house, which the government confiscated when we left for Israel, or whether I would have to join the destitute homeless and jobless who live in Cairo’s cemeteries.”

In a televised speech last week, al-Erian urged Jews to leave Israel in order to “make room for the Palestinians” and said Israel will cease to exist in the next decade.

Nagar, an activist for the Israeli Labor Party who heads the Israeli Association for the Promotion of Compensation for Jewish Refugees from Arab Lands, sent a letter to Morsi in July to congratulate him on becoming president. Morsi did not reply, according to Nagar.

Ada Aharoni, past chairwoman of the World Congress of the Jews from Egypt, told JTA that Nagar “does not represent the community of Jews from Egypt.” She added her organization “saw no point in engaging in dialogue with extremists like Morsi.”

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