15 February 2011

The Egyptian (2005)

Today’s Golden Oldie is from August 2005. The blog was just a few days old and I wrote a column called “The Egyptian”. At the time we had just pulled out of Gaza. The face in the cartoon was Mubarak’s, but the Egyptian I wrote about was someone else. I thought of him again today. Here’s the column and cartoon as I did it back then:

We in the Jewish world are all debating the pullout from Gaza. A ghastly mistake for Israel? A first step to peace? What will this mean for Sharon? What will this mean for Israel? What will this mean for the Palestinians? For Hamas? For The West

Hey, there’s way more than two sides to any story (at least in the Middle East) and in a curious way the Egyptian side of the tale is being ignored. The Egyptian government has been fighting Islamic terrorists for years. Terrorists have struck with devastating results, both in carnage and in damage to Egypt’s Tourism industry.

But for me, Egypt’s problems took a personal twist when, in July 2005, just two months ago, the new Egyptian ambassador to Iraq was kidnapped and killed. The news was posted on Al Jazeera. The murder was a slap in the face to Mubarak’s regime, but it was a sad moment for those of us who knew Ihab al-Sheriff as a friend. He represented Cairo in Israel before being posted to the “new” Iraq. He was an intelligent, creative man, and an avid and talented photographer. He made many friends in Israel. I was one of them. His death was a shock to those of us who thought there was nothing left that could shock us.

Once, in his Tel Aviv office I took note of a lava lamp standing on his desk. He laughed, thinking that I thought of Egyptians as militaristic and had mistaken it for a model of an Egyptian missile. Two days later a limo from the Egyptian Embassy turned up at my home delivering the lava lamp as a present from Ihab, and presumably from the people of Egypt.


lava lamp

On a number of occasions I had argued with Ihab about the threat of the Islamic Terrorists and he lectured me about the dangers of “the Occupation,” neither of us dreaming that the debate would eventually end with one of us paying the price.

Ihab took many photographs in Israel and confided to me that some day, when he retired from government service, he wanted to publish a book of photos entitled Israel through the Eyes of an Egyptian.

Then later, in the same month that Ihab was murdered, the Islamic terrorists carried out a successful attack on Egypt’s Sinai resort hotels.

Now the terrorists in Gaza have a border with Egypt that is neither guarded by Israeli troops nor blocked by Israeli Settlements . . . and I just began to wonder what that means to President Mubarak and to the future of a secular Egypt.

In the Dry Bones cartoon I drew the face of Mubarak, but the Egyptian I was thinking of was my friend Dr. Ihab al-Sheriff.

My fiend Ihab

 

Israel’s ‘Role’ in Egypt With Egypt refusing to drop from the news, anti-Israel columnists insist on dragging in – and blaming – Israel.

Queen Rania is a corrupt thief ראניה מלכת ירדן אשפוז ניו יורק (צילום: AFP) 36 Jordanian tribal leaders break silence with unprecedented letter criticizing King Abdullah’s wife; accuse her of ‘serving own interests, stealing money from treasury’, warn of uprising similar to Egypt

Sharansky approach to Egypt finds favor in US Congress Kerry: US must help Egyptians turn democratic moment into process that builds government responsive to economic needs, demands for freedom.

The New Middle East at a Glance With Middle Eastern and Arab countries experiencing unrest, Arutz-7 presents a brief review on the Arabs – and Jews – in the various states.

Thumbs up Op-ed: Thomas Friedman, Court Jew MK Yaakov Katz, known as Ketzaleh, takes on NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman for his “Israel is to blame” articles. Note surprise ending

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