In light of recent reports that Israel is lobbying the US and Europe to support
the military-backed government in Egypt, Israeli experts believe that this should
be done behind the scenes and not be publicized.
The New York Times
reported on Sunday, quoting an Israeli official, that Israel is aggressively
lobbying for the Egyptian regime because it is the best option available at the
moment. The Jerusalem Post also reported Sunday, quoting an official, that
Israel is worried about Egypt falling into chaos.
director of the new Center for the Study of the Middle East and Islam and a
research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) at
Bar-Ilan University, told the Post in an interview on Monday that Israel should
indeed be lobbying for the international community to support Gen. Abdel Fattah
al-Sisi, but that it must be done quietly.
Israel should help the new
regime in any way it can behind the scenes – if the regime needs a loan, Israel
should help it get one; if it needs help getting food aid, Israel should
However, in the Middle East, he said, “whoever Israel
supports loses legitimacy.”
“If we want to support side A, we should say
we support B – that way B will lose legitimacy and A will come out better,” he
said, adding, “Our kiss is the kiss of death.”
In addition, Kedar said
that publicizing this kind of diplomacy not only brings criticism from Islamists
but also can lead to terror attacks and increase their motivation to act against
Chuck Freilich, a senior fellow at the Belfer Center of Harvard’s
Kennedy School of Government and a former deputy national security adviser in
Israel, told the Post that he thinks The New York Times is over-hyping the story,
making the lobbying campaign seem like a huge operation, when this is what any
country does when faced with a crisis.
For Israel, he said, “this is a
crucial issue,” and of course it must turn “to everyone who has influence on the
Freilich agrees with Kedar that Israel should act quietly and
noted that the fact that it got into the press and is being amplified is because
“everyone is looking for an Israeli angle, because that is what sells
“When Israel is invoked, it becomes toxic,” he said, adding,
“Sisi doesn’t want this out that Israel is lobbying for him – the Muslim
Brotherhood will leap on this.”
Freilich went on to say that Israel does
not want to see a cutoff in US aid to Egypt, which would also decrease whatever
influence the US has on the regime.
“The military is the only party
keeping the country stable, pro-peace with Israel, and moderate,” he
The US loves talking about a transition to democracy, but elections
brought the Nazis to power in Germany and Hamas in Gaza, Freilich
“The Muslim Brotherhood is fundamentally an anti-democratic
organization,” stated Freilich.
The ousting of former president Mohamed
Morsi is “really good news for Israel, the region, and the world,” he
Yoram Meital, chairman of the Chaim Herzog Center for Middle
East Studies and Diplomacy at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, told the Post
he thinks that the leak to The New York Times by an Israeli official is
significant because it shows that “in back channels, there are likely a lot of
talks,” adding that this is because the future of the Egyptian state is a “vital
interest of the State of Israel.”
He noted that the Obama administration
finds itself in the peculiar situation where its three major allies in the
region – Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel – all support the ousting of Morsi and
back the new regime.
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