CAIRO - Israel has become a punchbag for politicians vying for votes in Egypt's presidential race, playing on popular antipathy in Egypt towards its neighbor, but the realities of office are likely to ensure a 33-year-old peace treaty is not jeopardized.
An ex-air force commander in the race boasts of bringing down Israeli aircraft in 1973, the last of Egypt's four wars with Israel. One Islamist often refers to Israel as the "Zionist entity," rather than by name, and describes it as an "enemy."A leftist candidate pledges to support the Palestinian resistance against Israel, where officials have watched Egypt's political turmoil with increasing wariness after the downfall of Mubarak who oversaw a cold yet stable peace.
None of the candidates want to tear up the document signed in 1979 but they repeatedly warn in rallies and debates it should be reviewed. Many of them grumble at provisions in the US-brokered deal they say are biased in Israel's favor.