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Israel on the Islamist Surge in Egypt: Told You So [View All]

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Purveyor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-05-11 02:30 PM
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Israel on the Islamist Surge in Egypt: Told You So
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The stunning showing by Salafist parties in the first round of Egypt's parliamentary elections surprised Israeli officials as much as the rest of the world. The estimated 40 percent of the vote that went to the Muslim Brotherhood, the party that founded modern political Islam, was about in line with pre-election polls. But the unexpectedly strong showing by the Salafis -- fundamentalist Sunni Muslims who hold that the only true Islam was practiced around the time of the Prophet Mohammad, 1,300 years ago -- could put a group that rejects modernism in a pivotal position in Egypt's new democracy.

This is even worse than we predicted," a senior Israeli security official was quoted telling the daily Yedioth Ahronoth.

In other words, events are unfolding much as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned they might in the heady first days of the Arab Spring, which Netanyahu said could well turn into an "Iranian winter." The metaphor draws from the history of Iran's 1979 revolution, which began as a popular uprising united in opposition to the despotic Shah, and thanks in part to the organization and motivation of religious activists, produced the radical theocracy that has controlled the country since.

"In February, when millions of Egyptians thronged to the streets in Cairo, commentators and quite a few Israeli members of the opposition said that we're facing a new era of liberalism and progress," Netanyahu told the Knesset last month, before polls even opened in Egypt. "They said I was trying to scare the public and was on the wrong side of history and don't see where things are heading."

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