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The articles in this issue have been divided upinto the following categories






i have read, with interest, your reply to a query about the jews in egypt and anti semitism. i would like, in the following, to outline what i believe happened. "the jews" i believe, entered egypt as part of the hyksos invasion and occupation of the nile delta which lasted for some two centuries, when they were driven out by the pharaoh ahmose. during the period of occupation, a large number of the semites were integrated into egyptian society and remained there. they then supported, or maybe even gave rise to, the monotheistic reforms of ikanaton. when this pharaoh was unseated by a revolt of the priests of amon,his followers were expelled, and this may have been the "exodus". we are told that when jacob died, his body was mummified and escorted to hebron for burial by a cortege of egyptian nobility. this appears to indicate that the whole of that area was under the control of the same semitic tribes, and jacob was held in high esteem by the authorities in power in egypt at that time.
as for anti-semitism, it is the outcome of several events that transpired in the first century of the common era. the jews were persona non grata in the roman world because of their constant rebellion against the romans. the church fathers, especially st. paul, took advantage of the situation by shifting the blame for the crucifixion to the jews away from the romans whom they were trying to convert. pontius pilate who was, by all historical accounts, corrupt and indecently cruel, is painted in the gospels as a sensitive man who tried to save jesus. the jews became the christ killers and thus the scapegoat for the christian masses. this lasted some twenty centuries and is still with us. in catholic countries the jews were afraid to leave their homes on good friday because the sermons in the churches villified them and often led the congregants to attack jews when they could. one good example is the attack on the jews in seville in 1392 on such a good friday, which led many jews to convert and others to leave the city. this was the beginning of the end of the glorious jewish community of spain. i recall that on a good friday in the fifties i attended a church service here in montreal with a catholic friend. the sermon was so rabidly anti jewish that it could have led to some sort of a riot. i was so angry that i wrote to the pope and was asked to have a meeting with a church official who assured me that all the vitriol was not meant to hurt the jews but was only a statement of historical events that actually took place. he obviously believed what he said. mel gibson's film "the passion" will probably give rise to some additional anti jewish vitriol. gibson is obviously intent of undoing the good work of the late pope john XXlll.
incidentally i would like to mention that a similar event to the exodus took place in spain. when grenada fell in 1492, most of the moslems were forced into catholicism,
however they continued to help moslem raiders from north africa until the catholic authorities expelled them in the 1600s. as the french say "plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose".
thank you for your attention,
yours truly
naim s. mahlab, montreal.


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