Cold Peace with Egypt Gets a Little Colder

In the thirty years since Israel signed a peace treaty with Egypt, the nature of the relationship between the two countries has often been characterized as a “cold peace.” Though the treaty more or less eliminated the threat of a “southern front” in time of war, the overwhelming majority of Egyptians have rejected any notion of normalization with the Jewish state. More evidence of this comes today in a report from the Jerusalem Post informing us that an Egyptian judge has ordered the country’s minister of the interior to “set in motion legislation which would revoke the citizenship of Egyptian nationals married to Israeli citizens.”

According to Al Masry el Youm, a local newspaper, the Administrative Judicial Court ordered the minister of the interior to submit to the cabinet proposals for legislating the initiative.

While I don’t know how seriously the government of Hosni Mubarak will take this order, it does speak volumes about the nature of hostility to Israel that exists in Egypt, the leading Arab “moderate” nation. The pervasive demonization of Jews, Israelis and Zionism in the Arab and Muslim world helps drive a culture of hatred that has sustained the siege of Israel.

For all of the talk about the need for America to reach out to Muslims, a stance exemplified by President Obama’s decision to make a major speech from Cairo next month, it is the Muslim world that is in desperate need of reform and introspection, not the West. A call from Obama for Muslims to re-evaluate their culture of hate against Jews, Israel and America would not be welcomed by its listeners. However it would be not only an act of intellectual honesty but a step toward the honest dialogue that is desperately needed.