About 120,000 Jews lived in Egypt in 1948, and they experienced firsthand three waves of expulsion and departure. Half of them immigrated to Israel, and it was only their love for the Promised Land that helped them overcome the suffering of absorption during the 1950s.
The community also had a broad and cosmopolitan education, which was commonplace among the Jews of Egypt, as well as knowledge of many languages. Boys who experienced the disgrace of expulsion in 1956, went on to become the pillars of industry, economy and culture in Israel, and some even won the Israel Prize in their respective fields.
Some examples are:
Dr. David Harari, who invented the first unmanned aerial vehicle in the world, for the Israeli aviation industry, and brought much honor and prestige to the country.
Ovadia Harari, who managed the production of the Lavi fighter aircraft.
Victor Medina, Director General of the Ministry of Finance, economist and one of the senior bankers in Israel.
Hotel tycoon, Eli Popushdo.
In the field of culture – award-winning writers such as Ronit Matalon and Orly Castel-Blum; singer Lilit Nagar; comedian Shaike Levy (of the Gashash HaHiver trio); Yosef Bar-El, CEO of the Israel Broadcasting Authority, and others.
In the field of medicine it is important to mention that Egyptian-born ophthalmologists established the first departments of ophthalmology in Israel; in the academy – Prof. Ezra Talmor established the first Department of Philosophy at Haifa University.
Members of the Egyptian community were also full partners in promoting settlement and establishing kibbutzim such as Bror Hayil, Nachshonim, Kfar Aza, Ein Shemer, and moshavim such as Kfar Aviv, Emunim and others.
Members of the community also made history in sports – the Maccabi Alexandria basketball team who immigrated to Israel in 1951, joined Hapoel Ein Harod and contributed to impressive achievements in Israel and Europe; other athletes honorably represented Israel at the Helsinki Olympics in 1952.
In public work, the community was significantly represented thanks to Ora Herzog (wife of Haim Herzog), Susie Even (wife of Aba Even) and others.
We are blessed that we have returned to Zion and witnessed the resurrection in the Land of Israel!