If there were only minimal cultural and economic ties under former president
Hosni Mubarak, there will be even less now, former Israeli envoy to Cairo
Yitzhak Levanon said Monday.
However, Levanon said, Egyptian President
Mohamed Mursi would likely not be the same Mursi who was, until recently, a
noted Muslim Brotherhood activist.
Levanon, who was evacuated from Cairo
along with his staff following the ransacking of the embassy there in September,
predicted that there would not be a war with Egypt.
Speaking at a
roundtable discussion at Netanya Academic College’s Center for Strategic
Dialogue, Levanon – who retired from the foreign ministry in November – said
that not only were the Egyptian masses not interested in returning to
confrontation with Israel, but neither were the Egyptian elite, nor even the
Nevertheless, he said Mursi will likely want to reopen the
peace treaty with Israel, including the military annex that regulates the number
and quality of troops Egypt can have in Sinai. However, he added, any
readjustment in the treaty will need Israel’s approval.
Mursi, the former
diplomat said, “will not cancel the peace treaty with Israel, in part because
the agreement rests on three legs, including the Americans in connection to the
economic assistance Washington gives Cairo.”
Levanon said Mursi will
himself focus on the daunting economic and social challenges facing Egypt,
including reassuring the liberals in the country worried not only about their
status, but also about their physical security.
Since the embassy was
ransacked in September, Israel’s ambassador to Egypt Yaakov Amitai has been
working out of a private home in Cairo, as Israel has not found a suitable
location for its embassy.
Levanon said there are landlords who don’t want
to rent property to Israel; others who do, but whose properties do not meet
Israel’s security requirements; and still others who have properties that fit
the bill from a security standpoint, but who – as a result – are asking rental
prices so high that it would be possible to “buy an entire
According to the former ambassador, were the Egyptians
interested in finding a building for Israel, then they would do so.
someone who doesn’t want to dance, always says the rug is crooked,” Levanon