News / Middle East

Egyptian Protesters Mostly Not Thinking About Israel

Anti-government demonstrators gather in Tahrir square in Cairo, Egypt, February 3, 2011
Anti-government demonstrators gather in Tahrir square in Cairo, Egypt, February 3, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
  • VOA's Jerome Socolovsky in Cairo, Feb. 4, among protesters

TEXT SIZE - +

Egypt has been a linchpin of America's strategy in the Middle East.  One of the key worries, if President Hosni Mubarak's regime is toppled, is that a new government might be less friendly to Washington and break the country's 32-year-old peace treaty with Israel.  

Egypt was the first country to make a historic peace treaty with Israel in 1979, but it is known here as "a cold peace."  The two governments cooperate on security and some economic matters, but there is little warmth between the peoples.

In Egypt, portraying President Hosni Mubarak as a Jew is one of the worst insults imaginable.  In recent days the Egyptian leader has appeared on some anti-government protesters placards with a Star of David painted on his forehead.

VOA's Jerome Socolovsky in Cairo's Tahrir Square, February 4, among protesters:

But most of the young anti-Mubarak protesters, like 20-year-old Nermine Essam, are focused on other matters.

"We have no problem with America.  And with Israel, I don't know what is going to end up.  But if [Mubarak] has no problem with the foreigners, he has a big problem with the Egyptian people. This is more than enough!" said Essam.

The political opposition has also been more inward looking.

George Ishaq of the Kefaya party says it is premature to make assumptions about any post-Mubarak policies.

"Don't make vision before our life, because our life is very disturbed," he said.

But there is a clear anti-Israeli and anti-American line in the opposition.  The fundamentalist Muslim brotherhood often accuses Mr. Mubarak of favoring Israel and America's interests over those of the Egyptian people.

And even moderates like Ishaq are ambiguous when asked about the peace treaty with Israel.

"There are no agreements that stay 30 years without a change," said Ishaq.

And change is exactly what the pro-Mubarak protesters want to prevent.

This man says the regime has been a bulwark against radicalization.

"We see what happened in Iraq and other countries.  We want reason to prevail," he said.

The opposition is made up of an old guard and the younger generation.  And both seem to agree that there will be no major foreign policy change in a post-Mubarak Egypt - at least not before they have sorted out their their own problems.

Mubarak Timeline

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

Jerome Socolovsky

Jerome Socolovsky is the award-winning religion correspondent for the Voice of America, based in Washington. He reports on the rapidly changing faith landscape of the United States, including interfaith issues, secularization and non-affiliation trends and the growth of immigrant congregations.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid