Raping the Jews in Egyptian prisons

Following the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, and the subsequent Arab-Israeli wars. The Egyptian government, along with the rest of the Arab world, decided to strip off citizenship, banish, and imprison the Jews in their lands. Some 100,000 Egyptian Jews fled to Israel, North America, and Europe. Of that number, a sizable minority of Egyptian Jews remained to face the horrors of Arab rule. Following the Six Days War, the Egyptian government arrested almost every Jewish male in the country, at least one person from every family and over 20% of the entire Jewish population, and detained them in Abu Zabaal, a major detention facility in Cairo still operative till this very day.

"Departure with no return!"From the Egyptian magazine Akher Sa'aa Nov 28th 1956.

Jews were arrested wherever they were, bedrooms, schools, buses, and workplaces. Upon arrival to Abu Zabaal, Jews were greeted by the chief Rabbi crucified above the gates. They had to pass under the Rabbi into the nightmares the Egyptian officers had prepared for them. Upon arrival, they were met with a barrage of insults, kicks, and punches. Then they had to choose a female name each because that’s how it works in my part of the world, being a woman is the ultimate degradation. The Jews then were raped, watched each other getting raped, and forced to rape each other. There is one account of two brothers who were forced to rape each other. “I can’t! He is my brother!” pleaded the adolescent helpless Jew. “Rape him!” came the command from the torturer.

I met some of the Egyptian Jews remained in Egypt until 1967 many of whom were detained in Abu Zabaal. In 2013 I made a personal pilgrimage to the Egyptian Karaite Synagogue in Dally City. I asked them,  "Why did you stay for so long? Why didn't you leave after 1956?" They all said, with crying voices and tearing eyes, "We thought it was going to get better! We thought it was going to go away! We were from there. Where else would we go?" One man, Mark Kheder, once he knew I was Egyptian, exploded in anger, "Do you know what happened in Abu Zabaal? Do you know what they did to me?"

The situation in Abu Zabaal was so dire, European governments, which are not known to be great lovers of Jews themselves, had to intervene. The Spanish ambassador, Angel Sagaz, went back to the time of the Inquisitions to prove to the Egyptian government Sephardic Jews were Spanish. The Spanish government granted citizenship and extradited 615 families, about 1500 Jews, after assuring the Egyptian government those Jews won't publicize the situation and won't move to Israel. The French government did the same for the tiny minority of Ashkenazi Jews. The only ones left were Karaites, a minute Egyptian Jewish sub-sect with no ties to the outer world. Jewish mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters were beaten and kicked out of government offices after they came to beg for the lives of their men. Some accounts do suggest some of them might have been sexually assaulted.

Some of the Jews in the cells died from torture, committed suicide, or went insane. The rest suffered through it. After two years the Egyptian government released them and kicked them out to various countries. Egypt officially became Judenrein. This story, and many more, largely remain unknown. Nevertheless, they continue. Rape in Egyptian detention facilities is as common as hot tea. In 2010 I was detained by the Egyptian Military Intelligence and was investigated on the grounds of being a Zionist and a Jewish spy. My interrogator threatened me he is going to break a glass soda bottle, and shove it up my anus raping me and gutting me out at the same time. I cried and begged knowing the credibility of the threat.

Growing up in Egypt, everyone knew about the government’s war with Islamists. They arrested young Islamist wannabes, tortured them, and raped them turning them from young ignorant Islamists into full blow jihadis. Many of those young men came out of prisons to join Alqaeda, ISIS, and many other jihadi groups.

While we may condemn Islamists understanding the hateful and dangerous nature of such a toxic ideology, that should not stop us from empathizing with those kids who Arab governments turn them into suicidal maniacs. We need to fight Islamism and radical Islam, but the sexual violence and the torture, which Egyptian Jews witnessed at firsthand, is aggravating the problem to catastrophic ends. Since Sisi came to power in Egypt in 2013, the Egyptian government built 80 news prisons just like Abu Zabaal. Egyptian prisons at a 160% capacity. The torture and the rape described earlier is still done against young Islamists, homosexuals, political dissidents, and journalists. Human Rights Watch reported that Egyptian prisons became fertile ground for ISIS recruitment. ISIS controls entire sectors of the Egyptian prison system.

Growing up in an antisemitic environment, I hated Jews passionately from a young age. Learning about Abu Zabaal opened my eyes to the reality of antisemitism and Jew hatred. I ended up creating my own Jewish story imprisoned, tortured, then later exiled. Yet, I refuse to be silenced, and I refuse to forget. The sins of the past are still carried on today and destroying our world. The tragedies happening daily in Abu Zabaal, and many other similar prisons around the Muslim world, are becoming a disturbing global force. The rape and sexual violence cultures are now in Europe, terrorizing European women and men. We need to talk about it!


Les Juifs De Nasser, L'Express, Dec 25-31 1967

The Angel Of Cairo: How Spain Saved Egypt’s Jews After The Six Day War

El ángel español que liberó a 1.500 judíos presos en Egipto

The Unknown Man, and the Deaths at Abu Zaabal

Internees at Abu Zaabal and Tora Prison Camps

My life in Abu Zaabal and Toraby Marc Khedr

עובדיה ירושלמי/חמש הדקות הארוכות, הוצאת אחיאסף

Egypt’s Prisons Are Becoming Recruiting Grounds for the Islamic State

Arrests, Anal ‘Exams’ and Prison: Egypt’s Assault on LGBT Community Is Only Getting Worse

A View On The Torture And Terror Of Egyptian Prisons

A Note on Egyptian Torture

Allegations of systemic rape in Egypt's prisons

Torture, rape and death in Egypt's prisons


Hias Disputes Claim of Egypt Chief Rabbi That 500 Arrested Jews Released

Riches to Rags: Egypt's Last Exodus

There Were Once Jews Here

Albert Algazi, Rabbi Albert Gabbai Shed Light on Mideast Jewry

State Security's History of Repression and Torture

كتاب البوابة السوداء - أحمد رائف

أحمد رائف.. التحقيق مع أبرياء


  1. Not only Egypt unfortunately, right across the Middle East.

    You need to add Australia as a country to which Egyptian Jews fled. I have many Egyptian Jewish friends here in Australia.

  2. Karaites are not Jews. This is a well known problem in the arab world... the west, disgustingly so, has no interest in tackling the problems of the arab world... they won't even admit to the things getting published in news papers... What can happen without a change of leadership in Egypt and other countries? I hope things change but im not optimistic.

    1. Karaites are Jews. Rabbinic Judaism doesn't have the say all on who is or isn't a Jew. Historically, if a rabbinic Jew married a Karaite they had to keep Karaite holiday dates even!

  3. A bunch of big lies.. i lived those days myself and the majority of my class at Lycée francais du Caire were jews... i know what happened to most of them// the person who wrote this is sick

    1. I have a added over a dozen references at the bottom of the page.

  4. You 'unknown' are telling a bunch of lies and if you had any guts you'd put your name to your comment.

    What happened, not only to the Jews in Egypt, happened right across the Middle East.

    Close to a million people had to leave the land of their birth where their families had lived for hundreds of years.

    1. BTW it wouldn't hurt if you did some research before wrongly name calling.

  5. My family also came from Egypt and we never heard these stories and they were Jewish. I question that this is a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood posting to create hate against Mr. Sisi who is trying to solve the problem of extremism in the teachings of the clerics in Egypt...Nasser was a communist Islamist who expelled all the Jews from Egypt, and we hear about these sorts of rapes and tortures throughout the Arab world then and now, but I question the motive of it here. Sorry, I don't think many of the Islamists, especially those coming from privileged families, became Islamist extremists because they were getting raped in jails in Egypt and throughout the Middle East. The problem of extremism lies in your own literature and culture, and the Jews are not safe anywhere that ideology is taken literally.


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