Harat Al-yahud (the Jewish Quarter): An Arab Jewish Neighborhood
No such exertion was necessary for Maurice Shammas, an Arabic-speaking Karaite born in Cairo's harat al-yahud in 1930. Shammas wrote for the Arabic Jewish weekly, al-Shams, and the Karaite biweekly, al-Kalim, and worked in Arabic theaters in Cairo before emigrating to Israel in 1951. He now lives in Jerusalem and is not very involved in the Karaite community. Nonetheless, he has remained actively engaged with Arabic culture throughout his life in Israel by working for the Arabic department of the Israel Broadcasting Authority writing plays, producing programs, and eventually becoming director of musical programs.
To mark the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, Shammas published his first and only book, Shaykh shabtay wa-hikayat min harat al-yahud (Shaykh Shabtay and stories from the Jewish quarter), a collection of Arabic short stories portraying his memories of life in harat al-yahud. Shammas regarded the peace treaty as imposing on him an obligation to present these memories of Jews who “lived among the Egyptian people, as part of that ancient people.” For Shammas, the Jews of harat al-yahud were authentic Egyptians—“carbon copies of ibn al-balad (a native son).” After leaving Egypt, he preserved his memories of his childhood in harat al-yahud “like a whiff of pure perfume.” 
Shammas intends his portrayal of harat al-yahud to apply to both Rabbanites and Karaites because he never mentions the existence of the two sects or specifies that any of his characters belong to one or the other. This is consistent with his current belief that Karaites should not emphasize their distinctive identity in Israel because this would separate them from other Jews. Most of the characters in the stories are Jews and have distinctively Jewish names. There are occasional references to Jewish customs, such as the dowry (instead of the Muslim mahr, or bridal gift), kosher food, and a bar mitzvah. Otherwise, there is no reason why most of the stories could not be about Muslims or Christians in any Cairene popular neighborhood.
In contrast to both Ada Aharoni and Anda Harel-Dagan, Shammas relates only positive memories of relations between Jews and Muslims. “Al-‘Amm Mahmud” (Uncle Mahmud) tells the story of a poor Muslim man who lived in harat al-yahud happily and amicably for several years with no difficulties. After becoming an “inseparable part of its human and social reality,” he suddenly disappears from the quarter. Some time later he returns to introduce his son, who has just graduated from the University of London medical school, to the “good people with whom I lived one of the happiest periods of my life.”  The young doctor then opens a clinic in the hara.
In “Cafe Lanciano,” patrons are gathered around the journalist Albert Mizrahi, discussing the veracity of a rumor that Layla Murad has converted to Islam (see Chapter 3). Some of the patrons become angry when they learn that the rumor is true. Lanciano, the proprietor, is the most upset. He turns off the radio when the announcer introduces a song by Layla Murad and orders her picture removed from the cafe wall. Others are not dismayed. For Sa‘adya, it is a simple matter: “I don't understand. Why are you angry? Is she your relative? Your sister? Someone falls in love and wants to marry the one she loves. What's wrong with that?”  The debate remains unresolved. The next morning the quarter is buzzing with the story that Layla Murad secretly visited the Maimonides synagogue in the hara at midnight and asked the sexton to pray for the soul of her father, Zaki Murad. Everyone is relieved. At the cafe, Lanciano selects a Layla Murad record to play and orders her picture restored to the wall. Having honored her father appropriately, Layla Murad regains the esteem of the Jews of the hara. Her formal religious affiliation no longer constitutes a barrier to her acceptance by the Jewish community, just as her Jewish origins did not obstruct her popularity with her broader Egyptian audiences.