Egypt: Israeli orchestra performs at pyramids on Nakba Day

On the Nakba Day anniversary, known in Israel as the Independence Day, an Israeli orchestra has reportedly performed at pyramids in Egypt, amid a boom in the Israeli-Egyptian economic ties.

An Israeli orchestra performed near Egypt’s Pyramids of Giza to celebrate the 74th anniversary of the founding of Israel, which for Palestinians is a somber commemoration of their expulsion from their homes.

The Israeli embassy in Cairo organized the performance by Firqat Alnoor – the group’s first in the Egyptian capital in 40 years – which caused uproar on social media after taking place on 14 May.

An Israeli orchestra has performed near Egypt’s pyramids on the outskirts of Cairo to celebrate the occupation state’s Independence Day last week, known to Arabs as Nakba Day.

According to the Jerusalem Post, the Israeli Embassy in the Egyptian capital organized the performance by Firqat Alnoor, the group’s first performance in Cairo in 40 years, playing Egyptian classics from the 1950s and 1960s.

“Events such as these express the way that the words peace and stability, which diplomats use so often, can turn into practical reality,” said Israeli Ambassador Amira Oron. “Every day, the staff of the Israeli Embassy in Cairo creates more peace.”

Nakba Day – which falls on 15 May each year – commemorates the devastating ethnic cleansing of 700,000 Palestinians from their native land in 1948 to make way for the creation of Israel.

However, Israelis mark the founding of their state shortly before Palestinians commemorate the Nakba, on a date that changes annually but fell on 4 May this year.

In response, the performance was described on social media as a “betrayal led by Al-Sisi who opened Egypt’s gates to Israeli occupation.”

Dina, a Twitter user wrote in condemnation of the performance, “God, do not blame us for what the fools among us have done… shame on us”.

After years of conflict starting in 1948, Egypt was the first Arab nation to negotiate a peace deal with Israel in 1979. After Egypt came Jordan in 1994 before, in September 2020, the UAE and Israel signed a US-sponsored deal to normalise their relations.

Three other Arab states – Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan – joined the UAE in the controversial move that came to be known as the Abraham Accords. The normalisation deals have since drawn widespread condemnations from Palestinians, who say the accords ignore their rights and do not serve the Palestinian cause.

Ibn Firnas, another Twitter user said, “To commemorate Nakba74, Egyptian authorities, under the auspices of peaceful and tolerant Sisi, allowed an Israeli orchestra to celebrate Israel Independence Day right in front of the Pyramids. An Israeli journalist once said Sisi is more Zionist that Israelis, he’s not wrong.”

Meanwhile, Palestinians across the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem are commemorating the 74th anniversary of the start of the Nakba, Catastrophe, the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the creation of the Zionist state of Israel by terrorist gangs helped by the British Mandate authorities. More than 750,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes and villages at gunpoint. At least 500 Palestinian towns and villages have since been razed to the ground by Israel in the effort to Judaise historic Palestine.

With more than 15,000 Palestinians killed during the Nakba, the refugees fled to the West Bank, Gaza Strip and neighboring Arab countries. They and their descendants have never been allowed to fulfil their legitimate right to return to their land.