Arabic digital resources of National Library of Israel find audience regionwide

Special A French illustration of Makkah in the mid-18th century. (Supplied/National Library of Israel)
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A French illustration of Makkah in the mid-18th century. (Supplied/National Library of Israel)
Special Manuscript of Nur Al-Din Jami’s ‘Tuhfat Al-Ahrar’ - Persian - 1484. (Supplied/The National Library of Israel)
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Manuscript of Nur Al-Din Jami’s ‘Tuhfat Al-Ahrar’ - Persian - 1484. (Supplied/The National Library of Israel)
Special Muhammad Al-Busayri, The Poem of the Mantle. (Supplied/National Library of Israel)
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Muhammad Al-Busayri, The Poem of the Mantle. (Supplied/National Library of Israel)
Special Ottoman Hajj manual. (Supplied/ National Library of Israel)
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Ottoman Hajj manual. (Supplied/ National Library of Israel)
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Updated 10 February 2022

Arabic digital resources of National Library of Israel find audience regionwide

Tens of thousands of Arabs from across the region are exploring the digital treasures of the National Library of Israel. (Supplied)
  • The library, founded in Jerusalem in 1892, has digitized its collection of rare Islamic books and manuscripts
  • Last year, more than 650,000 people across the Arab world visited the library’s Arabic-language website

LONDON: In the wake of the Abraham Accords, the Middle East is changing rapidly, and the success of a bridge-building initiative by the National Library of Israel bears witness to a growing hunger for cross-cultural collaboration and understanding.

In summer 2020, Arab News reported that the National Library of Israel, founded in Jerusalem in 1892, was planning to digitize its large collection of rare Islamic books and manuscripts, as part of a cross-cultural drive to open its digital doors to Arabic speakers in Israel and across the region.

Back in August 2020, Dr. Raquel Ukeles, then curator of the Islam and Middle East Collection at the NLI, said that the library was determined to play a part in eradicating what she saw as the “tremendous amount of ignorance about Islam, about Palestinian culture and Arab culture generally that has real repercussions on the political level.”

It was, she said, “very natural for us to be focusing on and investing in this material, to create space for Muslim culture in Israel and in the broader intellectual life, whether it’s in the Middle East or in the world, to enable greater understanding.” 




Manuscript of Nur Al-Din Jami’s ‘Tuhfat Al-Ahrar,’ - Persian - 1484. (Supplied/The National Library of Israel)

The response has been truly impressive.

“The truth is that I’m thrilled to see the massive increase in the use of our Arabic digital resources,” Dr. Ukeles, who is now head of collections at the library, told Arab News a year and a half later.

“It’s so heartening to see that people are willing to cross boundaries in order to gain knowledge.” 

In 2021, more than 650,000 visitors from across the Arab world found their way to the NLI’s Arabic-language website — an increase of 40 percent compared with 2020. There has been a dramatic increase in interest from Saudi Arabia in particular.

Most of the visitors, seeking out not only rare Islamic documents but also other archival treasures including a large collection of historic Arabic-language newspapers, came chiefly from the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Algeria. 

Worldwide, there was a 125 percent increase to 1.5 million visitors to the Arabic site. Within Israel itself, the number of visitors to the site jumped by 250 percent to a total of 620,000 users, while the library’s trilingual Hebrew-Arabic-English site as a whole registered 10 million visits in 2021.




Palestinian Arabs prepare for a pilgrim journey to Makkah from Hebron in 1972. (Supplied/Copyright © IPPA 08346-000-22 Photo by IPPA Staff)

There has been a dramatic increase in interest from Saudi Arabia in particular. In 2021, there was a 30 percent growth in traffic from the Kingdom to the NLI site, with more than 121,000 sessions by nearly 94,000 individual users. About a third of the visitors were women, and 60 percent of the total were aged between 25 and 44.

“When we launched our first digital archive of early Arabic newspapers from Ottoman and Mandatory Palestine in September 2016, we had an annual rate of about 5,000 users for the first few years,” Dr. Ukeles said.

“That number has now increased by about tenfold and, thanks to our talented Arabic digital team, this past year we had 1.5 million total users of our Arabic websites.”

It was, she said, the aim of the National Library of Israel “to allow people to gain access to their own culture and history,” but also “to stimulate curiosity and engender respect about other cultures.”

This seems to be working.

“Users from the Arab world are searching our collections of Arabic newspapers and Islamic manuscripts, but they are also interested in our historical maps and digitized materials about Jewish history and Israel.”




Opening page of a Qur’an manuscript from Isfahan, dated 1735. (Supplied/National Library of Israel)

Thanks to technology, the priceless documents at the library are even more accessible online, where they can be seen in exquisite, close-up detail — far better than they would be if viewed in person behind the glass of a display case.

“Technology allows culture and the written word to cross boundaries and reach new places previously inaccessible,” said Yaron Deutscher, head of digital at NLI.

“The fact that so many people from across the Arab world are expressing such a high level of interest in the cultural treasures freely available via the website shows just how relevant these things are, even for the younger generation living in our region.”

Those treasures include some extraordinary documents, including an exquisite copy of Muhammad Al-Busayri’s famous 13th-century poem “Qasidat Al-Burda,” or Ode of the Mantle, written in praise of the Prophet.

Also online are maps, illustrations and photographs, and hundreds of thousands of pages of historic Arabic newspapers from Ottoman and Mandatory Palestine — invaluable “rough first drafts of history” published between 1908 and 1948.




Script from a 9th-century Qu’ran from North Africa. (Supplied/National Library of Israel)

Newspapers and journals from the past “constitute one of the more clear-sighted vantage points for acquainting ourselves with bygone eras,” said a spokesperson for the library. 

“Periodicals are an important resource for scholars as well as a portal for anyone wishing to access history through the words of contemporaries.”

Among the most regularly viewed items are 73 issues of the weekly newspaper Al-Arab, published in Mandatory Palestine between August 1932 and April 1934. Its writers included prominent authors and intellectuals of the day, such as Muhammad ‘Izzat Darwaza, the Palestinian politician and historian whose contributions included the important article, “The Modern Awakening of Arab Nationalism,” and who was interned by the British in 1936.

The 167 issues of the bi-weekly newspaper Al-Jazira, published in Palestine between 1925 and 1927, is another invaluable insight into the politics of the day, while a fascinating snapshot of contemporary art and culture can be found in the rare three issues of the magazine Al-Fajr. Its purpose, as declared in its first edition, published on June 21, 1935, was “to represent all intellectual currents in literature, society, art, and science.”

It was, says the NLI, “a veritable storehouse of knowledge and included diverse writings (and) represented an important stage in the development of Palestinian culture.”

Al-Fajr lasted only two years. Along with many newspapers and magazines, it ceased publishing during the Arab revolt in Palestine between 1936 and 1939, and never returned to print.




‘The Outcomes of the Faculties and the Virtues of Qualities,’ a 16th-century Ottoman manuscript. (Supplied/National Library of Israel collection)

One of the oldest periodicals in the digital collection is the daily newspaper Al-Quds. First published in Jerusalem in 1908, the 107 issues in the collection cover the period from then until the end of 1913, offering fascinating insights into the prevailing social and political concerns on the eve of the First World War and the final death throes of the Ottoman Empire.

Social history aside, the most visually breathtaking treasures belong to the more distant past. Many of the documents and books contain unrivaled examples of Arabic and Persian calligraphy and illustrations.

The library attributes the rise in interest in its collections in part to the Abraham Accords, the normalization agreement signed between Bahrain, Israel and the UAE on Sept. 15, 2020, which saw the first Israeli embassy open in Abu Dhabi, and the first embassy of the UAE in Tel Aviv.

In May last year, the NLI signed a historic memorandum of understanding with the National Archives of the UAE in Abu Dhabi, committing the two organizations “to work together in support of mutual and separate goals and for the benefit of the international cultural and documentary heritage sector.”

The NLI said that the collaboration came “amid increased interest in regional collaboration in the wake of the Abraham Accords” and, in a joint communique, the new partners hailed the agreement as “a significant step forward.”

Both organizations, said the NLI, “serve as the central institutions of national memory for their respective countries and broader publics, and in recent years both have launched expansive and diverse efforts to serve scholars and wider audiences domestically and internationally.”




Muhammad Al-Busayri, The Poem of the Mantle. (Supplied/National Library of Israel)

For Dr. Ukeles, the collaboration advanced “our shared goals of preserving and opening access to cultural heritage for the benefit of users of all ages and backgrounds in Israel, the UAE and across the region and the world.”

Dr. Abdulla M. Alraisi, director-general of the UAE’s national archives, said that the collaboration reflects its determination to “spread its wings around the world to reach the most advanced global archives and libraries, to obtain the documents that come at the heart of its interest as it documents the memory of the homeland for generations.”

As US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in September last year, on the first anniversary of the accords, links that once would have been inconceivable are now being forged between individuals, as well as governments.

“There is a hunger to learn about each other’s cultures, to see new sights, to try new foods, forge new friendships — all experiences that have been impossible for so long and for so many, and now they’re making up for lost time,” he said.

“People are seizing the opportunity.”

Blinken ended by quoting the co-leader of the newly created UAE-Israel Business Council, who was planning to spend a month in Israel to learn more about its people and culture. 

“Everything is possible,” he said, “if we sit together and have a dialogue and understand each other.”


Confession by Houthi-affiliated smugglers prove Iran’s role in regional instability: Yemeni minister

Confession by Houthi-affiliated smugglers prove Iran’s role in regional instability: Yemeni minister
Updated 14 August 2022

Confession by Houthi-affiliated smugglers prove Iran’s role in regional instability: Yemeni minister

Confession by Houthi-affiliated smugglers prove Iran’s role in regional instability: Yemeni minister
  • Yemeni security forces earlier busted Houthi-affiliated cell for smuggling weapons from Iran to Hodeida
  • Smuggle operations were supervised by experts from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards

DUBAI: Yemen’s Minister of Information Muammar Al-Eryani said the confessions of a Houthi-affiliated cell to smuggling weapons from Iran to the militia in Hodeida confirm Tehran’s role in arming the group and undermining truce efforts.

His comments came after Yemen’s Joint Forces released a video of Yemeni men, busted as part of a security operation in the west coast, admitting to smuggling weapons from Iran’s Port of Bandar Abbas to a dealer who works for the Houthis in Hodeida. Such operations, they said, were supervised by experts from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
In a Twitter post, Al-Eryani said the confessions to the smuggle operations “confirm Tehran’s continued supply of weapons to [the] militia in flagrant defiance of international law” and illustrate Iran’s role in undermining de-escalation efforts.

 

He accused Iran of using Houthis to kill Yemeni civilians, cause regional instability and promote terrorism in a manner that challenges international interests. He also accused the Islamic state of exploiting the United Nations-brokered Stockholm Agreement to use Hodeida ports in smuggling weapons.

Al-Eryani called on the international community and UN members to explicitly condemn Iran’s “subversive policies and exert real pressure to end its interference in Yemeni affairs.”

Yemen’s army has repeatedly accused the Iran-backed militia of breaching the truce, which was extended for the third time earlier this month, through consistent attacks on soldiers and civilians.

During a meeting with parliament members, President of Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council Rashad Al-Alimi said the government would not condone targeting of the coalition supporting legitimacy in Yemen.


Suspect arrested after Jerusalem bus shooting: police

Israeli security inspect a bus after an attack outside Jerusalem's Old City, August 14, 2022. (AFP)
Israeli security inspect a bus after an attack outside Jerusalem's Old City, August 14, 2022. (AFP)
Updated 7 min 38 sec ago

Suspect arrested after Jerusalem bus shooting: police

Israeli security inspect a bus after an attack outside Jerusalem's Old City, August 14, 2022. (AFP)
  • Eight people were injured, two of them critically, after the attack
  • Israeli officials called the shooting “terror attack”

JERUSALEM: Israeli police said Sunday they had arrested a suspect in a pre-dawn gun attack on a bus in central Jerusalem that wounded eight people, according to an updated casualty toll.
"The terrorist is in our hands," police spokesman Kan Eli Levy told public radio.

Eight people were injured, two of them critically, after a shooting attack on a bus in Jerusalem’s Old City, Israeli police and medics said .
“The police were informed of a shooting of a bus ... Police have cordoned off the scene and are searching for a suspect who fled,” the police said.
Israel’s emergency medical services, the Magen David Adom (MDA), called the incident a “terror attack in the Old City.”
“We were on scene very quickly. On Ma’ale Hashalom St. we saw a passenger bus standing in the middle of the road, bystanders called us to treat two males around 30 years old who were on the bus with gunshot wounds,” MDA paramedics said in a statement.
Bus driver Daniel Kanievsky said the attack occurred near King David’s Tomb.
“I was coming from the Western Wall. The bus was full of passengers. I stopped at the station of the Tomb of David. At this moment starts the shootings. Two people outside I see falling, two inside were bleeding. Everybody panicked,” he told reporters at the scene.
Since March, 19 people — mostly Israeli civilians inside Israel — have been killed in attacks mostly by Palestinians. Three Israeli Arab attackers were also killed.
In the aftermath, Israeli authorities increased operations in the occupied West Bank.
More than 50 Palestinians have been killed, including fighters and civilians, in operations and incidents in the West Bank since then.
Last week saw three days of intense conflict between Israel and Islamic Jihad militants in the densely populated Palestinian enclave of Gaza.
At least 49 Palestinians, including Islamic Jihad fighters but also children, died in the latest violence, which ended last Sunday after Egypt negotiated a truce.
 


Four Yemeni soldiers killed, 25 wounded in Houthi attacks during truce

Four Yemeni soldiers killed, 25 wounded in Houthi attacks during truce
Updated 13 August 2022

Four Yemeni soldiers killed, 25 wounded in Houthi attacks during truce

Four Yemeni soldiers killed, 25 wounded in Houthi attacks during truce
  • US envoy Tim Lenderking says international community has made ‘significant progress’ toward ending the war

JEDDAH: Yemen’s army claimed on Saturday that four of its soldiers were killed and 25 more wounded in Houthi attacks, accusing the Iran-backed militia of breaching a United Nations-brokered truce hundreds of times in the past week.

The international community is pressing the Houthis to open roads in Taiz and turn the truce into a lasting peace settlement to end the war.

The army’s media center said in a statement that the Houthis committed 351 violations last week alone by shelling and mounting ground attacks on government troops, launching explosive-rigged drones, gunning down army troops, mobilizing new forces and creating new military posts in Taiz, Hajjah, Marib, Hodeidah, Dhale and Abyan.

Displaced Yemenis receive aids of tents, mattresses and bedding, after their camp was exposed to heavy rain that damaged their tents in the Khokha district of the country’s western province of Hodeida. (AFP)

Under the truce that came into effect on April 2 and has been renewed twice since, both sides agreed to stop fighting, to facilitate the departure of commercial flights from Sanaa, to ease restrictions on the movement of fuel ships through Hodeidah port, and to open roads in Taiz and other provinces.

Yemen’s government and military officials have warned that the continuation of deadly strikes by the Houthis and the failure to lift their seven-year siege on Taiz would jeopardize the truce and efforts to end the war.

Residents of Taiz said on Saturday that the Houthis had fired a number of artillery rounds at A-Shemasi neighborhood in the east of Taiz, causing large explosions. It is not known whether there were any casualties.

People in Taiz have repeatedly complained that the Houthis have not honored the truce and continue to strike densely populated districts.  

Despite local and international pressure, the Houthis have rejected the UN’s proposal to open a main road and four small roads around Taiz, insisting on opening just one narrow, unpaved road.

In New York, Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN secretary-general, said on Friday that talks over opening roads in Taiz and other governorates were “still ongoing.”

“What we have seen since this ceasefire has been agreed to is a good amount of flights going in and out of Sana’a Airport,” he added during his daily press briefing.

US Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking said that the international community has made “significant progress” toward ending the war in Yemen and that his priority is to get roads in Taiz open, add flights to more destinations from Sanaa airport, and to accelerate salary payments to public servants in Houthi-controlled areas.


Background of Rushdie attacker sheds light on Khomeini sympathizers in US

Background of Rushdie attacker sheds light on Khomeini sympathizers in US
Updated 14 August 2022

Background of Rushdie attacker sheds light on Khomeini sympathizers in US

Background of Rushdie attacker sheds light on Khomeini sympathizers in US
  • Lebanese-American Hadi Matar signals ties with Tehran-backed Hezbollah

CHICAGO / NEW YORK / WASHINGTON, DC: Hadi Matar, the 24-year-old New Jersey suspect charged with attempted murder over a vicious knife attack on author Salman Rushdie on Friday, is believed to have been motivated by pro-Iranian regime sympathies and the death fatwa placed on the novelist in 1989 by the late Ayatollah Khomeini.

Rushdie was speaking at a literary festival in upstate New York when Matar rushed onto the stage and stabbed the prize-winning author multiple times, including in the face, arm and abdomen, police allege.

The suspect had a pass to attend the literary conference hosted by the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York, according to police.

Hospital officials said that Rushdie, 75, is likely to lose an eye as a result of the attack.

The celebrated author suffered nerve damage to one arm, a serious injury to his liver and is on a ventilator.

Although police officials investigating the attack have not speculated on Matar’s motives, or possible official or unofficial ties to extremist pro-Iranian groups, many experts linked the incident to Iran’s longstanding, extremist terrorist agenda.

Matar’s Facebook cover page, which was widely shared on social media, shows the suspect is a follower of the Tehran regime’s hard-line agenda.

The page includes images of Khomeini, the regime’s founder, and current Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, leaving no doubt about Matar’s indoctrination and sympathies with the Iranian regime.

“The attack on Salman Rushdie by a reportedly pro-Khomenei individual would seem to qualify as an act of terrorism. The documented threats to Americans by Iran are certainly terrorism,” Norman Roule, an adviser to the United Against Nuclear Iran coalition, based in Washington, posted on Twitter.

“How would we have responded if these were AQ-related attacks? Why the difference?”

 

 

Khalil Jahshan, executive director of the Washington-based Arab Center, a think tank focusing on US foreign policy in the Middle East, told Arab News that pockets of pro-Iranian activists exist in the US, but usually stay under the radar.

Jahshan said that he believed Matar might be a “lone wolf” motivated by the Iranian regime’s longstanding fatwa, and rhetoric against Rushdie and other Western officials, but is surprised the attack was carried out now.

“One would think, after so many years, this fatwa issued by Iran and supported by many in the region, including in Lebanon, has somewhat dissipated, diminished, if you will, in intensity and in emotional attachment to it,” Jahshan told Arab News.

The fatwa against Rushdie was tempered in 1998 after Khomeini’s death, with the Iranian leader’s successors saying they no longer supported calls for Rushdie’s killing. But the fatwa was never officially revoked.

Jahshan said that the fatwa still holds relevance for some who continue to support Iran.

“I'm certainly not surprised that there are people who still take these things seriously. Support (for) terror attacks against civilians for political reasons have diminished in many parts of the world, but they continue to exist at least on the individual level,” he said.

“So the fact that it’s an individual who doesn’t seem to be tied to any particular organization or set-up, whether in this country or outside, is not surprising. That’s the fad right now. That’s a common trend. But, again, one has to wait for the investigation to proceed and see what connections they might come up with after the investigation.”

Immediately after the attack, pro-Iranian and pro-Hezbollah social media feeds lit up with praise for the alleged assailant, but many were later removed.

The IranArabic Twitter account with more than 90,000 followers called Matar a “Lebanese hero who stabbed Satan Salman Rushdie, author of 'The Satanic Verses,' in which he insulted the Prophet of guidance and mercy, the Messenger of God, Muhammad.”

Some activists in Detroit, where Lebanese Shiites and support for Hezbollah are strong, said they are not surprised by the attack, adding that pro-Iranian activism there is often high profile, but also that they feared speaking out publicly because of fears for their safety.

“People are afraid to speak out here in Detroit against Iran or Hezbollah,” one Detroit activist said, asking not to be identified.

The FBI issued an alert in 2020 warning of possible terrorism from pro-Iranian sympathizers and agents in the US after the drone assassination of Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s Quds Force and responsible for a series of violent terrorist attacks against anti-Iran regime dissidents.

The attack on Rushdie comes after the US Justice Department revealed a plot to assassinate former US National Security Adviser John Bolton.

Shahram Poursafi, identified by US officials as a member of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, is currently wanted by the FBI on charges related to the murder-for-hire plot.

Matar was born in the US, but may not have escaped the extremist indoctrination that many young people, and even children, are forced to go through in pro-Iranian Hezbollah strongholds. Exporting the extremist ideology of the Iranian "revolution" is a key goal of its proxies in the Middle East.

But they seem to have also established a presence in the American heartland as well.

Analysts discovered this summer that a pro-Iran mosque in Houston was forcing young children to take part in chants called “Salam Farmande,” or “Hello Commander” in Farsi. The ceremony, which has been posted on social media, closely mirrors Iranian and Hezbollah indoctrination intended to instill total loyalty to Khamenei.

In a recent report published by the Middle East Forum, a think tank that monitors extremism, Adrian Calamel, an analyst specializing in the Middle East and terrorism, said that the song is part of the recruitment drive for the Iranian regime.

“It’s enlisting the children to be the next generation of martyrs,” he said. “The song itself says, ‘we are ready to die for the commander.’”

Calamel warns that Shiite mosques similar to the one in Houston are centers of Iranian influence in the US.

“Al-Qaeda can’t set up these centers, Daesh can’t set up these centers, but Iran can,” he said.

It is unclear how Matar was radicalized, but clearly there is a broader trend of political and religious indoctrination that is being pushed by sympathizers of Iran’s brand of religious extremism that justify and encourage attacks like the one against Rushdie.


Egypt appoints 13 new ministers in major Cabinet reshuffle

Egypt appoints 13 new ministers in major Cabinet reshuffle
Updated 13 August 2022

Egypt appoints 13 new ministers in major Cabinet reshuffle

Egypt appoints 13 new ministers in major Cabinet reshuffle
  • The Cabinet shake-up was approved by parliament in an emergency session and affected 13 portfolios, including health, education, culture, local development and irrigation ministries
  • President El-Sisi said the shake-up came in consultation with Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly

CAIRO : An emergency session of parliament on Saturday approved several cabinet changes in Egypt’s first major reshuffle since 2019, with 13 ministers moved, the National Media Authority reported.
A statement said the House of Representatives had approved “all the nominations set forth in a letter from President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi regarding a ministerial reshuffle.”
El-Sisi’s official Facebook page said the president had urged parliament to discuss the changes in the more than 30-strong cabinet, which were agreed following consultations with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli.
The president said in a Facebook post that the changes aimed at “developing the governmental performance in some important files ... which contribute to protecting the state’s interests and capabilities.”
There has been only one reshuffle since Madbouli took office in 2018, in December 2019.
Following parliamentary approval, the new ministers are now expected to be sworn in.
The reshuffle does not include the key defense, interior, finance or foreign ministries.
But it does appoint new ministers of health, tourism and antiquities, commerce and industry, irrigation, civil aviation, immigration, education, higher education, military production, manpower, public business sector, culture and local development.
Banker Ahmed Issa took over the Tourism and Antiquities Ministry, replacing Khaled Al-Anani who led Egypt’s efforts in recent years to revive the tourism industry, a pillar of the economy. Such efforts included displaying ancient discoveries, opening new museums to attract international tourists.
Hani Sweilam, professor of water resources management at Germany’s RWTH Aachen University, was named as Irrigation Minister. He replaced Mohammed Abdel-Aty who oversaw years of technical negations with Ethiopia over its controversial dam on the Nile River’s main tributary.
The decision to replace outgoing irrigation minister Aty comes just a day after Addis Ababa announced it had finished its third filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
The Ethiopian water project damming the Nile is proceeding without agreement from downstream countries Egypt and Sudan.
The new irrigation minister is Hani Sewilam, a professor of sustainable development and water resources management at the American University in Cairo.
He assumes the post amid increasing fears over water security and an impending water crisis.
Other notable swaps include tourism and antiquities. Khaled Anani is credited with several high-profile attempts to revive Egypt’s vital tourism industry, and he is succeeded by Ahmed Issa Abu Hussein.
The health portfolio has been filled by Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, the acting minister since October.
Abdel Ghaffar’s former post of higher education minister will be filled by his deputy, Ayman Ashour.
Another notable appointment is Egyptian Air Force chief Mohamed Abbas Helmy, who takes on the civil aviation portfolio.
The government has held talks in recent months with the International Monetary Fund for a new loan to support its reform program and to help address challenges caused by the war in Europe. The government has received pledges from wealthy Arab Gulf nations for billions of dollars in investments, some of which are for private industry.
(With AFP and AP)