web analytics
February 2, 2015 / 13 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

The Importance To Israel Of A Stable Egypt


The uprising in Egypt that looks like it may sweep away President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year-old regime threatens to deprive Israel of its most important strategic ally in the region.

Israeli leaders have been mostly silent about the events in Egypt and are powerless to affect the outcome. But they and the entire Israeli population are gravely concerned that the turmoil will ultimately bring to power a new government hostile to the Jewish state.

At a time when Israel’s relations with Turkey, its other traditional regional ally, have deteriorated sharply, and when Hizbullah is strengthening its grip in Lebanon, the developments in Egypt will likely deepen a sense of vulnerability among Israelis and strengthen the government’s determination to keep security its No. 1 priority.

There is also the danger of a domino effect. Challenges have been sparked to the monarchy in Jordan – the only other Arab country to have made peace with Israel – as well as governments throughout the Arabian Peninsula that control most of the world’s oil supplies.

Israel and Egypt fought four wars between 1948 and 1973, but signed a peace treaty in 1979. True, it was a “cold peace.” Mubarak refused to allow cultural or people-to-people relations to flourish, and he kept military ties between the Israel Defense Forces and the Egyptian military on a low level with no joint exercises. He also tolerated a media that has spewed offensive anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli rhetoric for years, ensuring that Egyptian public opinion remained hostile to Israel and Jews in general.

Still, this “cold peace” has been a tremendous strategic asset for both countries and a bulwark of stability in the region. Israel no longer had to plan for a two- or three-front war and could cut military spending, with a consequent boost to its economy. In the past year, the Egyptian military has made some efforts to disrupt weapons smuggling to Iranian-backed Hamas across its border with Gaza.

Of course, Israelis recognize that Mubarak has been running a corrupt, authoritarian regime that has held back progress in his country. On a strictly human level, Israelis understand that Egyptians should enjoy the same democratic rights they do and deserve the chance to build a better future. But the danger exists that what comes next will be infinitely worse, not only for Israel but for the Egyptian people themselves.

The nightmare scenario, of course, is a repeat of the Iranian revolution of 1979 when the pro-western shah, an Israeli ally and oil supplier, was replaced by an Islamic regime that openly calls for Israel’s destruction, denies the Holocaust and is engaged in an all-out attempt to build nuclear weapons.

The shah’s government no doubt was a cruel human rights abuser, but the Islamic fundamentalism of the ayatollahs that replaced him has been a thousand times worse and now threatens the peace of the world.

In Egypt, the best opposition organization is the Muslim Brotherhood, which has close links to Hamas and is ideologically quite hostile to Israel. Its leaders probably understand that abandoning the peace treaty with Israel would endanger the $2 billion in aid Egypt receives each year from the United States as well as critically damage Egypt’s important tourist trade. But their rank-and-file supporters are not as sophisticated and surely would place immense pressure on the leadership to change the country’s pro-Western orientation.

Still, Egypt is no Iran. Strategically and historically, the two are competitors and not allies. Iran is at the center of a growing “Shiite crescent” which is steadily bringing Lebanon into its orbit.

Probably the best solution for Egypt would be a peaceful and orderly transition to free and fair elections. But this is no panacea. Local elections held in Gaza in January 2005 brought the Iranian-backed, Islamic fundamentalist Hamas movement to power.

That was six years ago, and Hamas seems determined never to hold another election. In 2007 it brutally crushed the opposition Fatah organization and expelled its members. Last October, a poll by The Israel Project in Gaza found Hamas with only a 40 percent approval rating, trailing considerably behind Fatah – but Gazans have no opportunity to express their will at the ballot box.

Egyptians deserve a chance to build democracy and move their country forward. Israelis hope they get the chance to do so, knowing that peace and friendship works best between fellow democracies.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Importance To Israel Of A Stable Egypt”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Handout photo of texted message sent by a fearful Christopher Cramer from Saudi Arabia before his death.
Saudis Hold Body of U.S. Elbit Subcontractor After Mysterious Death in Tabuk
Latest Indepth Stories
HETi_logo2

It is offensive that in commemorating the Holocaust mentioning Israel was deemed inappropriate.

Questions-Answers-logo

Many questions, all with thee same, single answer

Eli Weiss

Shepherding in the Shomron isn’t your usual kind of shepherding – despite his business-minded beginnings, Eli has discovered that a strong ideological impetus powers the job.

Resnick-013015-Pilot

I said to myself, “This story has got to be told. We’re losing this generation of World War II and if we don’t listen to them now, we’ve lost it.”

His entire existence was about spreading simcha and glorifying G-d’s name on a daily basis.

An Israeli strike could theoretically damage Iran’s nuclear program; only US can terminate program

At some point we need to stop simply defending and promoting Israel and start living in Israel

“We Jews are the only people who when we drop a book on the floor pick it up and kiss it.”

Though Zaide was the publisher of The Jewish Press, a big newspaper,I always remember him learning

Speaker Silver has been an extraordinary public servant since his election to the Assembly in 1975 and has been an exemplary leader of that body since 1994.

He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.

Drawing Congress into the Iran nuclear debate is the last thing the White House wants.

Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.

Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed

More Articles from Alan Eisner

The uprising in Egypt that looks like it may sweep away President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year-old regime threatens to deprive Israel of its most important strategic ally in the region.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-importance-to-israel-of-a-stable-egypt/2011/02/02/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: