Jews in the United States have been following the events in Egypt with great interest. Ever since we left in haste 5,000 years ago with Pharaoh chasing us, we’ve had a soft spot for Egypt. One sentiment that has been making the rounds is, “Hey, take care of those pyramids! We worked hard to build them — and we’re not coming back to make repairs.”
On a more serious note, we hope that when the political situation shakes out, the Egyptian people can enjoy some form of democratic government, some form of free elections and an economy that will enable them to trade, build and grow.
Although some might call Mubarak a dictator, he is not a tyrant in the class of Saddam Hussein. He’s been a friend of Israel’s for 30 years. His predecessor, Anwar Sadat, was the first Arab leader to sign a peace treaty with Israel. We hope that the Egyptians see the wisdom of maintaining a good relationship with Israel — through trade, diplomacy and the sharing of natural resources.
When they form their new government, the Egyptians could take a lesson from Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. There are 13 different political parties represented in Israel’s Knesset – from right-wing to left-leaning, religious to secular, Arab and Jew. They are forced to work together to form a coalition government. We hope that Egypt will do the same.
Egypt is still on our bucket list of places to visit. While Joyce’s kids have both been there, the rest of us haven’t. But till we can get there, we’ll have be content watching Pharaoh Yul Brynner for the thousandth time in The Ten Commandments.