MARZOUK, MOSHE


MARZOUK, MOSHE (1926–1955), *Cairo-born *Karaite Jew of Tunisian origin who was tried by a military court in Cairo on charges of spying for Israel and was executed on Jan. 31, 1955. In 1954 three Jews were arrested in *Egypt and accused of setting fire to the USIS Library in *Alexandria. Their arrest led to the discovery of a spy ring in Egypt and the imprisonment of ten other Jews, among whom were Marzouk and Samuel Azaar. Two of the prisoners managed to escape and the others were brought to trial on Dec. 10, 1954. According to the indictment, the accused had gathered information for Israel, carried out acts of sabotage, and spread false reports in Egypt designed to create public unrest. During the course of the trial, Max Bennet – described as the leader of the ring – committed suicide, after which Marzouk became the chief suspect. It was alleged that he had organized the Cairo group, had been trained in Israel, and had arranged wireless transmissions to Israel.

During his student days at the Cairo Medical School, Marzouk had become convinced that the future of all Egyptian Jews lay in their migration to Ereẓ Israel. He dedicated his life to the realization of his Zionist ideals and, while working as a doctor at the Jewish Hospital, organized the self-defense of the Cairo Jewish Quarter, helped to send young Jews to Israel, and, although he himself could have left, stayed at his post and worked for Israel.

SAMUEL AZAAR (1929–1955), native of Alexandria of Turkish parentage, had been active in Zionist youth movements at an early age. A youth of great promise, he was awarded a scholarship that enabled him to study electronic engineering. Like Marzouk, he chose to stay in Egypt and carry out his mission. During the trial he was described as the head of the Alexandria group and was accused of operating an underground workshop to manufacture sabotage devices.

The trial of the ten defendants came to an end on Jan. 27, 1955. Two were acquitted, six were sentenced to prison terms ranging from five years to life, and Marzouk and Azaar were sentenced to death. In Israel, "Kedoshei Kahir" (the Martyrs of Cairo) as they came to be known were honored and commemorated in various ways.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

H.M. Sachar, From the Ends of the Earth: The Peoples of Israel (1964), 328–66.

[Mordechai Shalev]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.