The release of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak before Pesach from a life sentence imposed upon him due to his alleged part in the deaths of 239 protesters during the uprising that ended with his impeachment recalls a brocha Rav Ovadiah Yosef gave to him in 2012. At the time, Rav Ovadiah said of Mubarak during his weekly shiur, “I pray for his refuah and that his judges should not convict him,” because “he is a man who seeks peace and likes Jews.”
“Mubarak brought honor to Egypt,” Rav Ovadiah added. “Kings and presidents admired him for preventing wars. He was a man who sought peace… In gratitude, I pray that Hashem plant wisdom, understanding and knowledge in the hearts of his judges. May they conclude the judgment by finding him innocent. Because Mubarak liked Jews, it is a mitzvah to pray for his health and full release.”
Rav Ovadiah and Mubarak had a personal relationship and often wrote to each other during the latter’s thirty years of presidency until Mubarak’s 2011 downfall. Egypt’s Jewish community is presently comprised of six elderly women in Cairo and twelve Jews in Alexandria.