At today’s Jerusalem conference for US Jewish leaders, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought to reassure that his government was prepared for the rapidly changing situation in Egypt.
Netanyahu insisted that the government would have to “prepare for the worst” and that he would “do whatever I can to increase the chances that they don’t materialize.” He also insisted that free elections wouldn’t necessarily be a good thing, pointing out that Hezbollah’s bloc has now taken power in Lebanon.
Speaking before Netanyahu, US envoy James Cunningham also sought to reassure the attendees, saying that “we have not abandoned our allies.” A number of Israeli officials condemned the US for not sufficiently backing the Mubarak regime, above and beyond the annual $1.3 billion in military aid.
Israeli leaders have made it clear they oppose elections in Egypt on general principle, and believe that an elected government would end the 1979 peace deal. This does not, of course, mean that a war would break out, but a number of Egyptians are unhappy with restrictions the deal places on travel in Sinai, and well as obliging them to comply with the Gaza blockade.