Thursday, April 05, 2012

5-Apr-12: The Egyptians, Passover and the wanderings in Sinai

The Golden Haggadah: Preparations for
Passover. 'The Golden Haggadah is one of the finest
of the surviving Haggadah manuscripts
from medieval Spain. The Haggadah,
which literally means 'narration', is the Hebrew
service-book used in Jewish households on Passover
Eve at a festive meal to commemorate
the Exodus from Egypt. [Image Source]
This is no Bible story.

Passover, Judaism's festival of freedom, is going to start tomorrow evening and most Jewish families throughout the world are preparing themselves and their households for a festive meal and a week of bread-free enjoyment.

We noted earlier today that rockets - three of them it turns out - were fired on Eilat in the small hours of this morning. Eilat, Israel's main tourist city, happens to be filled with holiday-makers since Passover is one of its two busiest weeks in the year.

We also noted [5-Apr-12: The terrorists send us their Passover greetings] that Egypt's chief of security made two uncompromising statements earlier today in the wake of the rocket attacks. One - they didn't come from Egyptian territory. And two - in case anyone might have thought that there were security issues in the Sinai, well - there aren't.

That's not how it looks from here.

Just as one instance: the gas pipeline running from Egypt to Israel has been bombed at least thirteen times in the last year [here's Reuters reporting on the most recent such attack a month ago]. The Egyptians had said in November 2011 that they would "tighten security along the pipeline by installing alarms and recruiting security patrols from Bedouin tribesmen in the area". But if they did - and we can find no published reports to support their claim - the effect was not exactly what they wanted. And today there's a major attack on Israel's busiest holiday resort.

The Israeli view of this is much less sanguine than the official Egyptian statements. And this evening, the head of Israel's military intelligence made his concerns plain:
"Military Intelligence chief Major-General Amir Kochavi said that the rockets fired at Eilat on Wednesday are a reflection of the change the Sinai region is undergoing. "More than 10 terror hubs in Sinai have been exposed in the last few months and terror organizations continue to strengthen their foothold there". He said Israel will must prepare for increased threats and lack of security stability in the region."
The changes in Egypt, contrary to the relaxed and nonchalant views of influential Western journalists intoxicated a year ago by the events at Tahrir Square, are worrying too. Al-Jazeera reported earlier this week that Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood - which controls nearly 50 percent of the new Egyptian parliament and dominates the constituent assembly that is in charge of writing Egypt's new constitution [source] - has decided to run its deputy leader in the upcoming presidential election "despite alleged splits within the movement and accusations that it is trying to monopolise power".

This is
"a surprise even to many of its own members, some of whom have openly expressed disappointment that the group is breaking an earlier promise not to run. They worry the decision sacrifices the group's credibility for short-term gains. Liberals and secular leaders are fuming the group has abandoned its repeated promise to share power and fear it could monopolize rule, thwarting hopes for democracy. The Brotherhood backtracked on an earlier pledge not to contest May's presidential election by announcing on Saturday that it would field deputy leader Khairat al-Shater." [ABC News]
The charter of the arch-terrorists Hamas, sworn to the destruction of the State of Israel, declares that it is "one of the wings of Moslem Brotherhood in Palestine." And for its part, the Moslem Brotherhood - according to its leader Mohammed Badie [see quote here] - views Hamas as its 'role-model'.

Unfortunately we don't have the same kind of leadership today as we had at the time of the exodus from Egypt, but our prayers this Passover for communal and individual well-being and security are the same. We surely hope there is no need for blood, frogs and pestilence in order to achieve those goals. But like then, we know we need to be watchful, by night and by day.

May we all enjoy a peaceful Passover.

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