An Egyptian writer, Ahmed Khaled Tawfiq contrasts how Israel marks February 1 with how Egypt does.
February 1 was the 15th anniversary of the death of Israeli fighter pilot Ilan Ramon aboard the space shuttle Columbia. It is also (close to) the anniversary of the Battle of the Camel, where Egyptian President Mubarak violently put down a demonstration, killing 11 protesters in 2011. And on February 1, 2012, there was a riot at the Port Said soccer stadium killing 74.
“I am overwhelmed when I compare what happened in Israel on February 1 to what happened in Egypt the same day,” writes Tawfiq. Because Ilan Ramon symbolizes not only Israeli high tech and ambition, but also its respect for history and religion (as Ramon carried into space a Torah, a small painting done by a girl during the Holocaust, and “enough objects to open a Jewish Temple in space.”) Rabbis debated how he could keep the Sabbath in space.
Egypt’s February anniversaries, on the other hand, evoke disgust and a backwards society that reaches down instead of up.
Tawfiq says ” Yes, Israel must be envied and admired, and this does not contradict the fact that it should be hated.”
The best that Israel can hope for is to be admired and respected. But anyone who thinks that Israel can do anything to be loved or befriended by the Arabs have no clue.
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