After the British took control in 1882, Egypt experienced rapid economic growth. This attracted numerous immigrants, including no small number of Jews. Their presence helped to revitalize the Egyptian Jewish community—which dates back to several centuries before the common era—and led to the development of a thriving press, as Ovadia Yerushalmi writes:
The end of World War I brought about a golden age of Egyptian journalism. . . . Jews produced more periodicals than any other minority in Egypt. [Of the country’s 90 Jewish-owned periodicals], two-thirds targeted Jewish audiences. Most of these were written in French, but others appeared in Judeo-Arabic, Yiddish, and Ladino. [The additional third] were marketed to the general Egyptian public.
One of the most important Jewish newspapers in Egypt was L’Aurore (The Dawn). Its owner and founding editor was Lucien Sciuto (1886-1947), a writer and educator who had originally founded L’Aurore in Istanbul. Conflicts with the leaders of the local Jewish community there led to its closure, and in 1919 Sciuto emigrated to Egypt, [bringing L’Aurore with him]. The paper was published in Cairo from 1924 to 1941.
The weekly newspaper, characterized by its pro-Zionist stance, covered many areas of interest—religious affairs, local Jewish community leaders, relations with world Jewry and with the Jewish community of Mandatory Palestine, and relations with the Egyptian regime. In addition, the paper published articles translated from newspapers in Mandatory Palestine; starting in 1938, it even included a page written in Italian.
L’Aurore . . . was not afraid to criticize the heads of the local rabbinate and of the Egyptian Jewish community. It was also the first Jewish Egyptian newspaper to send reporters into the field . . . and carry out investigative journalism to expose the reader to the deficiencies of the local Jewish leadership.