Sunday, February 6, 2011

Why Israel Worries About a Post-Mubarak Egypt

No country finds itself at greater unease with the developments in Egypt than Israel, and for good reason.

It isn't that Israel opposes the genuine democratic aspirations of the Egyptian people. If a new government in a post-Mubarak Egypt clearly stated it planned to maintain peaceful relations with the Jewish State, there would be no problem. But when Israel purportedly gave its blessing for the Egyptian military to mobilize in Sinai, you know it's very worried. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called these developments a "tremendous threat."

Let us not forget that there was a time not so long ago when Egypt was Israel's arch enemy. In Israel's first quarter century as a state it fought four wars with Egypt. The sight of Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat shaking hands along with Jimmy Carter was surely as inconceivable as the fall of the Berlin Wall. Egypt would be expelled from the Arab League for its rapprochement with Israel and Sadat would pay for peace with his life. Who in 1978 could have imagined that Israel and Egypt would be at peace with each other longer than they had been adversaries?

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