Grapel op-ed: I do not regret travel to Egypt

In 'Washington Post' op-ed, former IDF soldier jailed in Egypt writes that Israel needs more grass-roots diplomacy, forgives jailers.

January 2, 2012 10:46
1 minute read.
Ilan Grapel meets with Netanyhau

Grapel meets with Netanyahu 311. (photo credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Ilan Grapel, the dual US-Israeli citizen arrested in Egypt this summer on charges of espionage, said Monday that he does not regret traveling to Egypt.

In an opinion piece published by the Washington Post, Grapel emphasized the importance of the grass-roots diplomacy in which he was engaged, saying that Israel "has much to gain from such a strategy, given the pernicious myths about Israel and Jews prevalent in much of the Arab world."

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Israeli story of the year: Gilad Schalit’s release
Ilan Grapel: I want to thank the Israeli people

Grapel stated that he was ultimately successful in changing the mentalities of a number of Egyptians. "My hasbara provided a viewpoint that changed the mentalities of former Muslim Brotherhood members, the prosecutor and my guards, whose last words were 'Shalom, we hope you forgive us.' Israelis and Arabs can continue to maintain the status quo of mutual avoidance or they can dare to coexist."

Grapel was arrested at his downtown Cairo hotel by Egyptian state security officers in June 2011 on suspicion of working for Israeli intelligence to foment sectarian strife and gather intelligence on post-revolution Egypt. He previously served in the IDF and was wounded in the Second Lebanon War. Grapel was freed in October 2011 after spending over five months in prison. Israel released 25 Egyptian prisoners to secure his freedom.

In the op-ed, Grapel added his thoughts about Egypt's revolutionary Arab Spring. "Hosni Mubarak’s notorious state security forces still arbitrarily arrest Egyptians without real charges or trials (as they did me), denying anything resembling due process. Prosecutors and judges go through the motions of court proceedings, but the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces really calls the shots," he wrote.

Grapel also expanded on the conditions of his imprisonment. He described his solitary confinement as "near-complete isolation, interrupted just twice a month by consular visits that lasted only 40 minutes." Despite the harsh conditions, Grapel chose to look forward: "To those who wrongly held me, I say simply, I forgive you."

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
August 31, 2014
Prime minister to Channel 1: I’ll be running again in next election

By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN