Arab press laments Israeli superiority in education, innovation, justice

The articles cited Israel's education, innovation, democratic values, the country's ability to prosecute corrupt officials and its political stability as the source of its success.

April 30, 2018 11:09
3 minute read.
Media screens from Israeli media show Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Media screens from Israeli media show Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Several Arabic-speaking newspapers published articles discussing Israel's superiority over Arab states and which steps have to be taken in order to improve in comparison, according to a Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) report released this week.

The articles cited Israel's education, innovation, democratic values, the country's ability to prosecute corrupt officials and its political stability as the source of its success.

Former governor of Egypt's Al-Sharqiya province Reda Abd Al-Salam wrote on the Egyptian news site the Nile Press in January that Israeli superiority was due to the country's continuous investment in education, health and science and technology, as well as Israel's building a democracy.

"The Arab and Muslim peoples live under regimes that for decades have engaged not in developing their peoples and establishing themselves in economy, society, science, and democracy but in establishing their [own] rule... During this time, those we called 'the sons of apes and pigs' engaged in real building. They focused on education, health, economy, and technology, and of course on democratic process," a MEMRI translation of the article read.

Abd Al-Salam further emphasized that Israel's progress was not at all the result of aid, but of hard work. "Don't say that [this is because] the US supports Israel, because over the past decades Egypt has received tremendous support, in billions of dollars, from its Arab brothers and also from the international institutions for developing education, roads, and the like. Where has [this money] gone and whose pockets [does it line]?"

Jordanian politician and intellectual Rahil Ghorayba named Israel's ability to prosecute corrupt officials as a source of the Jewish state's success.

In the Jordanian daily Al-Dustour he wrote in March that "Investigating a prime minister is one of the manifestations of justice in any country – even an enemy country – that shows strength, not weakness. [...] Moreover, we have seen the Israeli justice system prosecute, and sentence to prison, top influential figures, some of whom are still serving their sentences."

Drawing the comparison to Arab states, Ghorayba expressed his concern that "In modern Arab history, there is no [case] of a trial or investigation of this kind of a leader or influential figure [...] This is a highly significant weak point in the Arab homeland and there is no chance of revival and advancement of Arab society until we reach that stage."

Writing for London-based Arabic-language publication Al-Quds Al-Arabi in February, Palestinian writer Suhail Kiwan expressed similar sentiments: "The [Israeli] judicial system is the final arbiter, because it remains an independent institution, despite all that is said and that we say against the racist apartheid anti-Arab Zionist regime."

"There is much corruption in Israel, [but also] a judicial system that can take the corrupt to task. This is one of the most important secrets of Israel's power – not the advanced technology, the advanced aircraft, the sizeable army or the compulsory [military] service for young Jewish men and women, but the capability of the regime itself to identify and rectify flaws," he emphasized.

"It is regrettable that some Arab media are victorious and gloating over the exposure of Netanyahu's corruption – [instead], we should be crying about our own situation and about the pitiful state that our infallible leaders have come to."

Lebanese journalist Abd Al-Rahman Abd Al-Mulla Al-Salah, writing for the Egyptian daily Al-Hayat in February, argued that Israel's superiority was due to its political stability.

"We stand before helpless regimes, and, most unfortunately, Israel is, relative to them, the only stable one in the region [...] Israel is stable, and despite all its racism, it is a democracy for the Jews within it. Whether we like it or not, Israel is a country of institutions, law, and a constitution, in which the transfer of power is carried out [in an organized fashion]."

"Israel's stability draws its strength from its democracy and its regime, which is derived from respect for the Israeli citizen and his choices." Abd Al-Mulla Al-Salah continued. "The situation in our Arab world will not stabilize unless the Arab citizen regains his respect, and until his repression ends."

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