As the riots in Egypt and the loud calls for the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak continue, Azzam Azzam who spent eight years in an Egyptian prison after being convicted of spying for Israel, believes that Mubarak will ultimately have to resign.
Azzam had been sent to Egypt as an employee of an Israeli textile company and worked at a textile plant which was a joint business venture of Israeli management and Egyptian labor. In 1996 he was arrested in Cairo and was accused of industrial espionage, later being accused of using women's underwear soaked in invisible ink to pass information to the Mossad.
In August 1997 Azzam was convicted of helping to send news about Egyptian industrial cities to Mossad and was sentenced to fifteen years jail with hard labor.
After having spent eight years in the Egyptian prison, Azzam was freed in December 2004, in exchange for six Egyptian students who were suspected of planning to rob a bank, capture a tank and kidnap IDF soldiers. Both Azzam and the Israeli government have always denied that he was an Israeli spy.
Now, as he follows the news from Egypt from his home in Israel, Azzam spoke to Arutz Sheva’s Hebrew website on Sunday and outlined what he believes will happen as a result of the uprising there.
“The era of the dictators is over,” Azzam said. “Mubarak needs to go. It started in Tunisia, moved to Egypt, and other countries will follow. For thirty years ago the people told Mubarak ‘yes,’ and now it is time to tell him ‘no.’”
During the interview Azzam expressed his support of the Egyptian people. “I say to the Egyptian people: ‘I’m holding out my hope for you. You have suffered enough. You should earn your bread with dignity.’ For thirty years the Egyptians were only allowed to open their mouths in the dentist’s chair, and today they have opened their mouths and told Mubarak: We are tired of you.”
Regarding the fact that the number of fatalities in Egypt is so small in relation to similar riots in other countries, Azam said: “I think the death toll exceeded 1000. Never in my life have I believed the reports coming from Egypt. What is broadcast from Egypt is not true. The truth is being swept under the rug and no one can see it. It will be revealed about another month or two after Mubarak falls.”
He expressed his great anger towards Mubarak. “I cannot look him in the eye and I want to see him in the same jail cell in which he put me,” he said.
Azzam ended the interview on an optimistic note: “I want peace to prevail among all nations. May all the regimes around us become democracies so that we can sleep peacefully.”
Click here for an Op-Ed on the convicted spies for Israel, including Azzam.