Israel right to be 'unsettled' by revolution in Egypt

February 07, 2011

The article in The Baltimore Sun, "For Israel, change could be unsettling" (Feb. 5), accurately describes the trepidation the only democracy in the Middle East feels, in light of the recent tumultuous uprisings that have surrounded it.

However, part of the reason for that "unsettling" feeling might be because while most of the world heard about Tunisia's revolution, few are aware, as The Jerusalem Post reported, that unidentified assailants set fire to a synagogue in the town of Ghabes and burned Torah scrolls.

Or how, while embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was defending his government against the anti-regime protesters, his aides began alleging the protesters were incited by Mossad.

Or how those same anti-regime protesters claim that Mr. Mubarak is an Israeli puppet and brandished placards with Mr. Mubarak's image plastered with Stars of David.

In fact, a Pew Research Center opinion survey of Arab attitudes toward Jews from June 2009 leaves little doubt: 95 percent of Egyptians, 97 percent of Jordanians and Palestinians and 98 percent of Lebanese expressed unfavorable opinions of Jews. Three quarters of Turks, Pakistanis and Indonesians also expressed hostile views of Jews.

While so much of the world has been condemning Israel (a country that offers its citizens, free speech, gender equality, gay rights, an open and critical press, an independent judiciary and fair and open elections), Arab dictators have been given a virtual pass.

Now, finally, the lid is coming off. Now hopefully some light will be shed.

Perhaps now the fact that the one democracy in the region and the one Jewish state that stands alone against 23 Arab states and 57 Muslim states whose populations are united in their hatred of Jews, interpreting the recent news as "unsettling" may be better understood.

Abe Novick, Towson

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