Egypt blocks film about country's Jewish community

Authorities fail to issue permit to screen historical documentary about Egyptian Jews, according to the film's producer.

By REUTERS
March 13, 2013 17:47
1 minute read.
Jews once lived peacefully in Egypt, 25/2/2013

jewsofegypt370. (photo credit: Screenshot)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

CAIRO- Egyptian authorities have failed to issue a permit to screen a historical documentary about the country's Jewish community, the film's producer said on Wednesday, one of a series of disputes over freedom of expression under the Islamist government.

Egypt already had restrictions on film makers under president Hosni Mubarak, requiring them to seek approval from the Censorship Bureau to screen their work. After his overthrow in 2011, film makers were hoping for more artistic freedom, but critics of the government say little has changed.

Producer Haitham Khamissi said Censorship Bureau officials had told him State Security had requested to view his film "The Jews of Egypt" before it could be cleared to be shown in cinemas.



But a security source denied State Security was blocking the film, saying permits were granted by the Censorship Bureau. Officials at the Censorship Bureau were however not immediately available to comment.

Khamissi said renewing the permit for the film, which was first shown with official permission at a film festival in Egypt in 2012, would normally take a matter of hours, but he said he had been waiting for a week.


The film depicts changes in Egyptian society's acceptance of its ancient Jewish minority in the first half of the 20th century. Most Jews fled the country due to attacks on their community.

"The authorities had already approved my film ... I'm only asking for a renewal of the permission but until now I haven't received it," Khamissi said. "They are worried about us, the people who think ... The content is controversial, politically."

"After the creation of Israel in 1948, the world view of Jews changed," he said. "There were worries that any Jewish Egyptian could be an Israeli spy."

Last month Egyptian prosecutors questioned an award-winning novelist over accusations that he had insulted religion, in the latest of a string of cases to cause concern over freedom of expression.

Khamissi said the screening last year lasted only one day and was for a limited audience, whereas the permission he is seeking now is to show the film to the public for several days.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Joan Rivers
August 28, 2014
Joan Rivers rushed to hospital following throat surgery

By JPOST.COM STAFF