Jewish community leader dies in Cairo

Nadia Haroun’s funeral takes place amid heavy security; her sister refuses to use an Israeli rabbi to officiate, local media reported.

The funeral for Nadia Haroun, an Egyptian Jewish community leader, took place on Tuesday. She died on Thursday evening after suffering a heart attack, local media reported.
Nadia Haroun was the deputy head of the Egyptian Jewish Community Council and the sister of the current head, Magda Haroun, who was chosen unanimously in April to replace the community’s former leader, Carmen Weinstein.
Nadia Haroun’s funeral took place amid heavy security and Magda refused to use an Israeli rabbi to officiate, instead bringing one from France, reported the Egyptian newspaper Al-Youm Al-Sabaa.
The funeral was delayed because of the lack of a local rabbi, said the report.
Few public figures attended as well as members of French and Chinese media. Egyptian writer Ikram Yusuf, who was present, criticized the absence of Egyptian state officials or Christian or Muslim representatives.
Zvi Mazel, who served as Israel’s sixth ambassador to Egypt, told The Jerusalem Post that “what is new is the admonishment of Muslim and Christian personalities who failed to come.”
Mazel, a fellow at The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and a contributor to the Post, said that this is probably due to the “‘revolution effect’ – they are less afraid of the authorities.”
The Egyptian media made the typical anti-Israeli comment while at the same time “giving honor to a Jew, thus demonstrating Egyptian tolerance,” said Mazel.
The Post attempted to contact Magda Haroun but she said this was not the moment to talk.
In an interview with the AP last year, Magda Haroun said she considered herself Egyptian first, and then Jewish.
Haroun’s views seem to mirror those of her father, Chehata Haroun, who died in 2001 and was one of the founders of the Egyptian Communist Party in the 1940s. He was also one of the founders of the socialist National Progressive Unionist Party, known as the Tagamu Party, in 1977, according to his obituary published in 2001 by Al-Ahram Weekly and linked to the Jewish community Bassatine website.
Nadia Haroun worked with her sister at the firm Haroun & Haroun dealing with patents and legal affairs, according to the Bassatine website.
Nadia Haroun was married to a leftist activist Ahmed Qassem and is survived by a son and daughter, Ahram Online reported.