Letter from Israel: Some comments on the situation in Egypt

We received this letter which gives a taste of how the events in Egypt are viewed in Israel. It also explains that faced with the threat of a general strike called by the Histadrut, Netanyahu, once he had seen the events in Egypt, very quickly stepped in and made some significant concessions to avert the strike. It shows that Israel, like all other countries has its class divisions, something the Zionist ruling class would like to hide from view.

Dear Editor,

During the Tahrir Revolution, one dissenting voice was that of Israel's, in the sense that it's government did not come out against Mubarak. Israel likes to boast that it is the only democracy in this region, and if truth be told it would like it to stay that way. For Israel's government, dealing with totalitarian regimes is much easier than dealing with democracies.

During the upheaval in Egypt (not that I'm saying it has finished) all Israelis that were interviewed would always mention the Muslim Brotherhood. Even when it was pointed out to them that they had not started the revolution, and were not very prominent in the goings on in the Square, the retort was "look at Iran". The difference with Iran was the revolution there had a "leader", as you well know.

Today in Haaretz the question was asked "Why no revolution in Israel?". Well the Histadrut had announced a General Strike to take place next month before what happened in Cairo. Netanyahu, after seeing what was going on in Egypt quickly stepped in to thwart the planned strike with an increase of the minimum wage by 450 Shekels a month. The minimum wage is at present 3,800 Shekels Us$1000 or approximately £600 (pounds sterling). This increase, if approved by the cabinet, will be for public sector workers only. The private sector has virtually no rights left any more. Also decreases in the price of petrol and water rates were announced, but not diesel. The latter is very significant, because this affects the price of food. Food has always been relatively cheap here. But lately the prices have soared. The price of water has also increased simply because Israel has been in a drought situation for some years, and this has also contributed to the price of food going up, and the quality. The changes proposed by the Prime Minister still have to be approved by the cabinet, as the Israeli governments are always true coalitions - not the elephant and mouse type you have in the UK at present - a lot of wrangling will take place before these changes will pass if indeed they will.

During the demonstrations in Egypt the Histadrut tried to arrange several demonstrations in various towns across Israel, but hardly anyone turned up.

Regarding the Egypt situation vis-a-vis Israel, well we have a period of grace of a some few months. No doubt Israeli officials will be in contact with the present rulers in Egypt, and as they are military men, as are most of Israel's top politicians, they will find a common language. Time will tell of course what will be the outcome, and if the generals in Egypt will hold elections, or maybe they will get used to being in power, and keep putting off elections. This of course is what Israel would like especialy as some in the Egyptian opposition have voiced intentions to renegotiate the Israel-Egypt Camp David peace accords. I'm also pretty sure that Jerusalem will make it very clear to both Cairo and Washington that it will not tolerate any government that may arise in Egypt that will in Israel's estimation pose any threat to Israel. I'm not talking about war between the two countries, but help to Hamas or any other organization that Israel would term terrorist would be considered unacceptable. Although Egypt has been rearmed by the US with weapons of either the same type or quality that Israel has, it is still no match for Israel, and I'm sure after 30 years of no war neither side wants to return to a "War Situation", as the Americans would put it.

I found your article on the Egyptian military very informative, especially the bit about the Egyptian soldiers not being supplied with bullets for their guns. We only have Al Jazeera in Arabic here. I watch the BBC. We also have SKY, FOX News (that I don't watch) France 24 in English, and CNN, and it was well covered by Israeli TV. Unfortunately Israeli reporters, as well as other foreign reporters, were set upon by thugs. And this morning I read that a lady reporter for CBS was beaten and sexually assaulted. It was an event that I never thought I would see.

And all this was started by a poor boy who set himself alight in Tunisia, who's name we have now forgotten.

Comradely regards,

Mordechai Peargut