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Daily Israel Report

Op-Ed: Is the 'Arab Spring' Good or Bad for Israel?

What factors affect Israel - and the rest of the world - in the so-called "Arab Spring".
Published: Monday, August 12, 2013 11:03 AM


The so-called ‘Arab Spring’ has been celebrated by the mainstream media since the very beginning. Most pundits and politicians believed that this huge movement stretching across North Africa and the Middle East was supposed to bring democracy, secularism, and prosperity for its people. They could not have been more wrong.

Granted democracy was given a chance, but instead of secularism and prosperity we’ve seen a rise of Islamism, terrorism, rape, Christian persecution, anti-Semitism, unemployment and an entire region arguably the most destabilized in modern history.

Islamist parties won the elections in Tunisia and Egypt, the Libyan government and constitution are based on Sharia law, Turkey is being re-Islamized, leaders of the Syrian rebels have called for a country with Sharia law, and we’ve seen a surge of Al-Qaeda and its affiliates across the region including Algeria, Mali, Yemen and Somalia.

The latest proof of the surge of Al-Qaeda was provided last Sunday when the U.S. closed an unprecedented 22 embassies and consulates across North Africa, the Middle East and Asia due to an Al-Qaeda terror threat.


To say that the Arab Spring has been a disaster for its people is an understatement of epic proportions.
Although most have since reopened, the U.S. State Department issued a travel alert to the effected countries that may last the entire month of August.

To say that the Arab Spring has been a disaster for its people is an understatement of epic proportions.

But what does this mean for Israel? I would like to examine two key factors: the collapse of the economies of these countries and the extraordinary rise of anti-Semitism.

Egypt, with the largest population of the countries affected, is the best example of a shattered economy. The unemployment number has reached a record high, there is soaring inflation, chronic fuel shortages and tourism revenue is at a record low.

This is mainly good news for Israel, since a bankrupt country cannot afford a costly war. However, it’s not all good news. With (possible) further economic problems, and a deeply divided population, there is one card left a government may play to unify its people: blame the Jews. This has been used throughout human history, and while this is not exclusively a Muslim strategy, it does work particularly well in the Middle East.

That has been on rampant display in Syria, where President Assad blames Israel for aiding the rebels, while the rebels accuse Israel of aiding Assad. However, so far the rise of anti-Semitism in the Arab Spring countries is not a result of desperate governments, but rather the rise of Islamism.

Ousted Egyptian President Morsi called Jews the “descendants of pigs and apes,” said “we must raise our children and grandchildren to hate Jews,” joined in Muslim prayers calling for the “dispersal of Jews,” and appointed ministers whose remarks about the Jewish people made Hitler look almost Jew-friendly.

Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan called Israel a “terrorist state,” and at pro-Erdogan protests across the world anti-Israel rhetoric is common. In Germany, where 25,000 demonstrators had gathered last July, the protestors chanted “down with Israel” and “Israel be cursed.” The protestors were echoing statements made by Erdogan’s AKP party who blamed “Jewish interests” for the ongoing anti-Erdogan protests in Turkey.

As for Syria, former IDF general Uzi Dayan told Arutz Sheva that Israel has a choice between bad and worse. Assad is well known to be anti-Israel, but the forces fighting him have become infested with Al-Qaeda, its affiliates, and other jihadis.

Of course, Israel’s troubles do not end there. Iran is continuing to pursue nuclear weapons and according to IDF’s military intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Israel faces a total of 200,000 missiles and rockets aimed at it by its enemies.

For the first time in Israel’s history - as opposed to the War of Independence, when it faced seven Arab armies - Israel faces four active borders of terrorism: Gaza ,Syria, Lebanon and the Sinai Peninsula. The first Muslim country to recognize Israel (Turkey) is on a rampant path of becoming re-Islamized, Israel’s peace treaty with Egypt has never been more fragile, Hezbollah has regained all of its missile arsenal since the last conflict with Israel, and Islamists are gaining influence and power across the region.

So no, the so-called Arab Spring has not been good for Israel, it has not been good for secularism, freedom, women’s rights, minority rights, the region, the economy and much more. The list goes on.

One must ask oneself, how could so many journalists, pundits and politicians get it so wrong? Could it be because truth does not matter in the mainstream media and this politically-correct world? That aligning yourself with popular opinion matters more than facts and proper research?

Yes, that’s exactly how it happened.