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Officials: Morsi's Replacement May be 'Better' for Israel

Israel is hopeful that whoever replaces Mohammed Morsi will be slightly less hostile to the Jewish state
By David Lev
First Publish: 7/4/2013, 10:02 AM

Mohammed Morsi
Mohammed Morsi
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Israel is not connected in any way to the events in Egypt, but the events there have a major impact on Israel's security – mostly because of the still-extant peace treaty between the two countries. Israeli officials have said on numerous occasions that they do not care who runs Egypt, just that they prevent terrorists operating there from attacking Israel, prevent weapons smuggling via Sinai into Gaza, and use their influence to curb Hamas' terrorist activities in Gaza.

The regime of now ex-President Mohammed Morsi was none too friendly to Israel, refusing to upgrade relations with Israel, and even downgrading them in some ways; Egypt refused to allow several top Israeli officials, including National Security Advisor Ya'akov Amidror, into the country. Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, who was given permission to visit Egypt, was kept out of Cairo, and was able to consult with the Egyptian Defense Minister by phone only.

In addition, Egypt currently does not have an ambassador at its embassy in Tel Aviv, due to personal intervention by Morsi to prevent appointment of an ambassador; meanwhile, Israel's ambassador in Cairo is in temporary quarters, having failed to find even one landlord willing to rent space to the Israeli Embassy, after the former embassy space was destroyed during riots against former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak. Israel believes that the difficulties in finding a site for the embassy, too, is Morsi's doing.

With that, Israeli-Egyptian military cooperation has grown significantly in recent months. Israeli and Egyptian military officials meet on a regular basis in Tel Aviv, while Israeli military officials have met with Egyptian generals and top security officials on army bases in Cairo, where the influence of Morsi's political “cold war” on Israel is less prominent. Just a few weeks ago, Amos Gilad, head of the diplomatic security department in the Defense Ministry, met with top Egyptian general Abd al-Fatah a-Sisi – the same a-Sisi who apparently engineered the removal of Morsi.

Officials are hopeful that the next regime will be a bit warmer in its attitude towards Israel, a report on Israel Radio quoted several officials as saying. “It appears that the army has decided to 'reset' Egypt's democracy on a more centrist course, and hopefully this means that the next government will be more centrist in its relations with us,” the officials said.