Ties with U.S., Israel up in the air as runoff pits Mubarak ally and Muslim Brotherhood rival.
Ron Kampeas / JTA
Washington — The Egyptians stunned even themselves in the vote to elect their next president — and observers are warning that the U.S. and Israel should be ready for continued uncertainty in their relations with Egypt.
As the trial of Hosni Mubarak began in Egypt, an Israeli lawmaker said he had offered political asylum in Israel to the longtime Egyptian president.
Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, a Knesset member from the Labor Party, told Israel’s Army Radio on Wednesday that he had made the offer to an ailing Mubarak several months ago in Sharm el-Sheikh, a Red Sea resort city in Egypt.
Policies were diverging before Egyptian president’s announcement that he won’t run again.
James D. Besser
The street protests that have apparently ended the 30-year reign of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and threaten to spill across the Arab world pose a dangerous new wild card for the Obama administration — and point to another potential source of friction with Israel.
It is understandable that Israeli leaders and citizens alike are watching the fast-moving events in Egypt — and possible reverberations in Jordan — with great trepidation.
Peace with Egypt, formalized in 1979, has been anything but warm, but it has been real and enduring, and it has allowed Israel to focus its defenses on other threats, including Hamas and Hezbollah terrorism and the terrifying prospect of a nuclear Iran.