“The Jewish Community in Cairo (JCC) has regretfully lost Marcelle Haroun, one of its pillars who will be sorely missed.” This was posted Saturday 6 July by JCC on its Facebook page to announce the death of Marcelle, at age 93, mother of the current JCC president, Magda Haroun. The funeral for Marcelle was held Saturday 6 July, and condolences are to be received Sunday 7 July at the Synagogue in Adly Street in Downtown Cairo.
Marcelle Haroun is survived by her daughter Magda (Mrs Roberto Orfanelli) and four grandchildren.
Mrs Haroun was married to lawyer and politician Shehata Haroun who had a strong reputation as a Jewish anti-Zionist. They had three daughters: Nadia, who passed away in March 2014; Magda, current president of the JCC; and a third daughter who died young.
Mr Haroun joined the Democratic Movement for National Liberation by Henri Curiel in the 1940s and ultimately became a member of the Communist Party of Egypt.
With the passing away of Marcelle Haroun, the total number of the once-flourishing community of Jews in Egypt is down to five.
It is estimated that Egypt was home to 100,000 Jews when Israel was founded in 1948. Many Egyptian Jews supported the creation of a Jewish state, but no more than half of them moved to Israel. Mr Haroun, however, counted himself an Egyptian first and foremost, and stayed on even after the Jews left Egypt en masse in the wake of the 1956 Suez War. Those who remained steadily left Egypt in later years; the community dwindled in number to its last five members today.
Mr Haroun died in 2001 at age 82 remaining a political activist and vocal critic of Israel until the last years of his life.
According to his daughter Magda, he was convinced until he died that he was an Egyptian citizen of Jewish religion. When he died, he left instructions that no Israeli rabbi officiate at his funeral. The funeral was delayed more than a week until a rabbi could be brought in from France.
7 July 2019