Egyptians “shocked” at Lieberman Appointment, note Barak’s accusation of “fascism” in Tel Aviv

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

What do Israel’s Arab neighbors think about the political earthquake that struck PM Binyamin Netanyahu’s cabinet on Thursday and Friday? Netanyahu invited into his government the far right Yisrael Beitenu ultra-nationalist party and offered the minister of defense position to extremist Avigdor Lieberman. He appears to have attempted to mollify the old defense minister, Moshe Yaalon, by offering him the foreign ministry. Yaalon angrily declined and announced his resignation from the government.

Al-Watan (The Nation, Cairo) reported these events, then noted that former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak decried he “seeds of fascism” he sees infesting Netanyahu’s current government and Israeli society.

The changes matter to Egypt because the officer corps, led by former field marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is also the president, has to deal with the Israeli ministry of defense quite a lot, over issues of mutual concern in Gaza and Sinai, for instance. Making the Egyptians deal with Lieberman is a slap in the face to Cairo, given that he once suggested destroying the Aswan Dam and sweeping the Egyptians into the sea. Knowing that the erratic and extremist Lieberman has his finger on the nuclear button must also be nervous-making for the al-Sisi government. The pan-Arab leftwing London daily, al-Quds al-`Arabi, reported that circles around al-Sisi were “shocked” at the prospect of having to work with Lieberman, and that they consider his appointment a “red line” after he threatened them with genocide.

On the other hand, the anti-al-Sisi organ, Aljazeera, accused al-Sisi of admiring Netanyahu and of talking to him warmly every week. (Aljazeera favors the Muslim Brotherhood whereas al-Sisi and Netanyahu both see it as a threat).

Yaalon said when he resigned “I fought with all my might against manifestations of extremism, violence and racism in Israeli society, which are threatening its sturdiness and trickling into the armed forces, hurting it already. . .”


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11 Responses

    • What has not been emphasized in the media the other half of the fallout of the Yaalon resignation – that Yaalon will likely be replaced in the Knesset by U.S.-born Rabbi Yehuda Glick, the right-wing extremist who seeks to rebuild the Third Temple.

      Glick, a Likud Party member, survived an assassination attempt by a Palestinian earlier due to his promotion of the rebuilding of the Third Temple.

      If he is eventually seated, he will first be forced to renounce his U.S. citizenship and shall become only the fifth American-born individual to sit in the Knesset. Rabbi Meir Kahane also renounced his U.S. citizenship and sat in the Knesset.

  1. Now that the Saudis are going rogue and the Russians are back in the region, Egypt has the advantage of getting a bidding war for potential patrons. On the other hand, would you really want Egypt for a client?

  2. Apparently, Netanyahu didn’t get the message about not digging deeper when you are in a hole.

    The symptoms of decline and fall are now prevalent in the US and Israel. The question now is, “Which will go first? The US or Israel? Clinton or Netanyahu? Or, will they both go together in a deadly embrace like some people in a Berlin bunker in April 1945?”

    • “……some people in a Berlin bunker in 1945.”

      Uri Avnery, a 92-year old former Irgun member who served parts of three decades as an elected member of the Knesset, published an article yesterday lauding General Yair Golan for likening the current right-wing political events in Israel to 1930s Germany and concluding with the question whether he, Avnery, will be condemned to witness the same process twice in his life.

  3. This is what happened to SA Apartheid on its last 2 decades of reign of terror. It became even more ruthless and brutish inside South Africa and in neighboring Namibia and Angola. But in end even nuclear weapons which Israel helped it acquire were not enough to stem its demise. Looks like fatigue is beginning to set in on soldiers who have the difficult task of enforcing apartheid in the occupied lands. It may take 30 years but in the end this is a system that cannot sustain itself for ever.

  4. It looks like “our protectorate right or wrong” just went a little more wrong. No doubt that, during the election campaign, the candidates will still double-down on our sworn allegiance.

  5. You think this is bad, as bad as Clinton is, imagine Trump, who is now in Sheldon Adelson’s pocket, as President while Netanyahu goes further rightward. We live in perilous times.

  6. Who can be sorry for the poor Sisi et al when the Egyptians are “forced” to help Israel in its illegal cruelty to the Palestinians, including flooding all the remaining tunnels which were a lifeline to Gaza?

    • That’s the problem for Sisi; there’s a political cost for his regime to do things to help Israel which are well known in the Arab world. He can’t go to his restless people and say that they were rewarded for cooperating.

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