The last rabbi in Egypt reveals the details of a secret session with Sadat The last rabbi in Egypt reveals the details of a secret session with Sadat

The last rabbi in Egypt reveals the details of a secret session with Sadat

The last rabbi in Egypt reveals the details of a secret session with Sadat

45 years ago, Rabbi Menashe Malka went to Egypt to lead the Jewish community there and prevent the demolition of the Jewish cemetery in the old “Basateen” neighborhood in Cairo.

In a press interview with the “Headbrot” website, Malka revealed his meetings with the then Egyptian President Mohamed Anwar Sadat, saying: “I had personal conversations with him about issues whose details I cannot mention because they are confidential and related to security matters.”

At the beginning of the Hebrew website’s report, the Israeli journalist Haim Geffen, who conducted the interview with the last rabbi in Egypt, said that Malka’s going to Egypt was one of the most important moments he experienced during the years he spent as a rabbi, as he was only 19 and a half years old, and at this age he stood In front of the president of one of the largest Islamic and Arab countries in the world, he spoke with him for a long hour, and not only that, but after that he obtained a free entry “visa” to the Arab Republic of Egypt.

Before publishing the interview, Giffin asks: “What made him, Rabbi Menashe Malka, stand before Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, the Arab leader who started the Yom Kippur War in 1973 against Israel? And in general, what did he do there in Egypt? This is without a doubt one of the most important stories.” Audacity for a rabbi in Israel.
Rabbi Menashe Malka, 65 years old, currently holds the position of rabbi of the Moshav Malilot settlement and the rabbi of the Limonon settlement in the Sdot Regional Council in the Negev. His story began in Egypt 45 years ago, as this happened in the early 1980s, when the peace treaty was signed. Between Egypt and Israel, under the supervision of the late Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Sadat.

The Hebrew website said, thanks to this agreement, the Egyptian tourism market was opened to the Israeli traveler, and the local Jewish community needed a rabbi to lead it, and therefore Israel sent Malik to be the rabbi of the Jewish community in Egypt.

Rabbi Malka said: “The administration of the Jewish community in Egypt approached the Chief Rabbi of Israel, the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, and the Rabbi of Jerusalem, Rabbi Mashach Zatzal, with an urgent request to send a rabbi to them in Cairo.”

The Hebrew website explained that in those days, Rabbi Malka had a close relationship with Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, and thanks to that close relationship, Ovadia chose him to be the rabbi of the Jews in Egypt.

The website went on to say that when the request from the Jewish community in Egypt arrived, Ovadia told him that he had been chosen to be the chief rabbi of the Jewish community in Egypt, despite his young age, telling him: “There are certain tasks that only you can do.”

Regarding Malkal’s visit to Egypt, he said: “I had a 10-minute appointment with the President of the Republic, but Sadat spoke to me for more than an hour.”

In order to assist Rabbi Malka in his mission, Ovadia requested the assistance of the first Israeli ambassador to Egypt, Dr. Eliyahu Ben Elisher, to act as the coordinating agent between Rabbi Malka and the local Jewish community. This was Dr. Ben Elisher's main task, but it was later he who also arranged Meeting with Sadat.

In response to the Hebrew website’s question: “Why did you meet Sadat?” Rabbi Malka said: “We learned from various reports that Egypt is planning to build a huge tourist center in Cairo, and that this plan includes evacuating the Jewish cemetery there and building a central road in its place, and this cemetery is among Other matters: The chief rabbi of Egypt and the last Jewish cleric, Rabbi Haim Kavousi, was buried there.

He added: "It was a matter of time until the plan was implemented, and I entered into a race against time to save the demolition of the Jewish cemetery in the Basateen neighborhood in the Egyptian capital, Cairo. Through the mediation of the Israeli ambassador, a meeting was arranged for me and my translator with President Sadat. The time specified for our meeting was between 10 and 13 minutes." "But it actually lasted more than an hour."

The Israeli journalist asked Malka a question, saying: “We will go back to the night before the meeting... You were only 19 and a half years old at the time, in a country that until a moment ago was known as a country hostile to Israel. Were you able to sleep at all?”

Malka replied, “It was very difficult for me to sleep. I had great concerns about how to handle this task, but late at night, when I fell asleep, I dreamed that Rabbi Yaakov Abu Hashira blessed me and said to me: God will be with you, as "It was with our ancestors. It calmed me down."

Geffen said: “You said that your meeting lasted more than an hour. What were you talking about all this time?” Rabbi Malka replied, saying: “Sadat presented to me a legal ruling from a rabbinical court in France, which stipulates that it is permissible to exhume graves in accordance with religious law.” He asked me: “So what is your problem?” The translator looked at me and whispered: “This will be a diplomatic incident, and I could not translate what he said to a translator, so I told him: Either you translate, or I translate myself, and it will sound worse.”
He continued: “In the end.” He had no choice and translated. Sadat jumped out of his seat and shouted in Arabic: “My father?!” Everyone in the room was amazed by his jump. Then Sadat sat down again and said to me: “But this is not your father!” I replied: “All our masters are our grandfathers.” He was shocked by my answer, and was interested in what could be done to prevent the demolition of the cemetery.”

Giffin said, as we mentioned, the meeting between the young rabbi and the 62-year-old President of Egypt lasted more than an hour, during which dialogues took place about matters of religion and state, and they even discussed another matter that Rabbi Malka does not intend to reveal, because it is a matter related to state security, and he refused to speak. About her, but he hinted that he spoke with him about procedures for burying an agent of the Israeli security services who died under the weight of bullets in tragic circumstances inside Egyptian territory.

The Israeli journalist asked him a question about this matter, saying to him: “On behalf of whom did you talk about this with Sadat?” Malka replied, saying: “I cannot go into more details, and I ask not to talk about it, because the hidden ink is greater than what is apparent on this matter.” ".
“Actually, did the meeting between you two end successfully?” said Giffin, to which Malka replied, “Yes, and at the end of the meeting, Sadat explicitly ordered the executive authorities of the state to bypass the cemetery, without touching the Jewish cemeteries at all, and before we left his room, Sadat invited me to come to him whenever I wanted at any time at the headquarters of the Presidency of the Republic. He even gave me the opportunity to schedule meetings with him through his senior deputy, and not through the usual official correspondence.

The journalist asked him: Were you able to meet him again? Malka replied: “Yes, but I cannot expand on that.” He continued: “It was an unforgettable period.”

Geffen said that throughout Malka's stay in Egypt, the rabbi led the Jewish community, developed and perfected the kosher system, renovated the main synagogue and other synagogues, and even excavated the archives of Cairo's famous "geniezas." There is also a fascinating story. behind this.

Malka said: “Even before Sadat came to power, during the era of Abdel Nasser, there were hundreds of Jewish families who fled Egypt, and a large number of these couples divorced, and some of them separated without divorce, in order to purify the members of those families from fear.”
He added: "Rabbi Ovadia Yosef asked me to search the archives of the Jewish community and search for two gits and documents indicating divorce."

The Israeli journalist said at the end of his report alone with Rabbi Malka: “Today, 45 years after his personal departure from Egypt, Rabbi Menashe Malka serves as the rabbi of Moshav Melilot, the rabbi of Limonot, the head of the Jewish institutions “Shomeri Ha Kodesh” in Netivot, and as one of the spiritual leaders. To the south of the country, but he will not forget those days in Egypt, as he stressed that it was an exciting and daring period alike, and he thanked God that he was able to succeed in this sacred mission.


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