Maha Zahalka

How an Israeli became Egypt's health minister

Egyptian media mistakenly use photo of Arab-Israeli Maha Zahalka for report on new minister Maha el-Rabat. 'Now I'm famous around Arab world,' she says

An Arab-Israeli political activist, a resident of the Kara village in Wadi Ara, was surprised to discover that she has been appointed the Egyptian minister of health by the country's media outlets.


Due to sharing the same first name, the image of Israeli Maha Zahalka, 35, was mistakenly used to accompany most of the Egyptian reports on the actual new health minister, Maha el-Rabat.


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The different reports on the new minister's meetings and decisions all carried the image of Maha from Kara, instead of Maha from Egypt.


מצא את ההבדלים. מהא זחאלקה ומהא אלרבאט

Maha Zahalka (R) and Maha Alrabat


דיווחי התקשורת הערבית

Reports from Egyptian media



Zahalka, director of the culture and non-formal education unit in the Kara village local council, said: "Truth is, I don’t intend to politicize this media act, which was disseminated in most of the Egyptian TV channels and websites, as well as on Facebook."


She also commented on the strife between the Morsi camp and the new president Sisi's: "I'm unhappy to realize that the photo has been used for wrangling. They tried to use it to connote the new government with modernity and enlightenment, but this is not how the success of enlightenment is measured."


On the circumstances of the error which made her unexpectedly famous overnight, Zahalka said: "I knew of what happened on the morning of July 15, from friends on Facebook. I was in shock, but I tried to accept it lightheartedly because I don't have many choices.


"I pray from the bottom of my heart for the peace of the Egyptian people. We love them and consider them the head of the Arab world in every way."


But the development also caused her some concern. "Today I'm afraid to go to Egypt. I don't know what the Egyptian public will do if they see me there, especially after the revolution and the harsh atmosphere still prevalent. Though I wasn't party to the error in publishing the photo and I hope the Egyptians will understand what happened. I feel that I've become famous all around the Arab world, not just over here."



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פרסום ראשון: 07.19.13, 15:59
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