When Israeli and Egyptian Leaders Meet

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Haisam Hassanein - Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met on Monday with Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi in Sharm al-Sheikh, the first Israeli leader to openly visit Egypt since 2011. Cairo's trust in Jerusalem has grown significantly in the past ten years, buoyed by high-level military and intelligence cooperation. Unlike other regional actors, Israel has not interfered in Egypt's internal affairs, instead helping the country with border security, economic issues, and political backing in Washington. The normalization deals that Israel struck with the UAE, Bahrain, and other partners over the past year have shaken Cairo's longstanding status as the main Arab interlocutor with Jerusalem. The celebratory atmosphere surrounding subsequent people-to-people interactions and rapid economic deals were met with distaste among Egyptian pro-government elites, some of whom engaged in verbal clashes with their Gulf counterparts on social media. Cairo has yet to address the proliferation of Egyptian television programming that promotes anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli conspiracies among large Arab audiences at home and abroad. This Ramadan, for example, a show titled "Counterattack" propagated the notion that Israel has been secretly paying Arab nationals in Europe and the U.S. to undermine Egyptian interests.

2021-09-15 00:00:00

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