The Long Road to the Promised Land – Passover 2011
by Gunter David
Jewish people around the world celebrate the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. Led by Moses, they crossed the Red Sea to the Sinai Desert, where they wandered for forty years until arriving in the Land of Canaan. The Holy Land.
Today the Holy Land, Israel, is the only democracy in the Middle East.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, deposed in a rush for freedom and democracy by the people of Egypt, has been replaced by a popular government.
The Red Sea contains the Suez Canal, which the new government has reopened. Two ships recently traveled through the Canal on their way to Syria. They were Iranian ships, from the land whose leader has sworn “to wipe Israel off the map,” to another fierce enemy of Israel right on its borders.
Nabil Al Arabi, Egypt’s new foreign minister,said he would work to renew diplomatic ties with Iran. He said he did not consider it an enemy state.
On the other hand he said major changes will be made in the relationship between the new Egypt and its Israeli neighbor. He threatened to review and amend security arrangements agreed to in their 1979 Israel-Egypt peace treaty. “We will stick by all the treaties we have signed, and we will demand that they keep their side of the deal,”Arabi said. But “we will not be a ‘strategic treasure’ for Israelis, as they used to say during the time of Mubarak. We will only abide by the treaties.”
The year 1979 was the high point in the relationship between Egypt and Israel. It was the year in which Anwar el-Sadat, President of Egypt, appeared before the Israeli Parliament in Jerusalem to sign a peace treaty. He subsequently paid for this with his life – assassinated in his quest for peace by one of his own.
Sadat’s successor, President Hosni Mubarak, kept the peace. He did not visit the Israeli parliament. But he helped the Israelis fight the flow of weapons into the hands of Hamas in the Gaza Strip. He also sold natural gas to Israel at reduced prices. In return, Israelis became tourists in his land, visiting, among other places, the pyramids, which their forefathers, the slaves of Pharaohs, helped to build.
Al-Arabi stressed his government will play an important role in the Middle East peace process, and that “the Palestinians want peace, but Israel has not yet met their demands.”
Jewish people around the world celebrating the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, read from the Haggadah as they are seated around the dinner table, “In each generation someone rises to annihilate us, and in each generation G-d rescues us.”
Gunter David and his parents fled Germany, their native country, as soon as Adolph Hitler rose to power. They settled in Tel Aviv, in what was then Palestine, where Gunter grew up. He subsequently moved to the U.S., where he worked on major newspapers for 25 years. The Evening Bulletin of Philadelphia nominated him for the Pulitzer Prize. He has returned to Israel numerous times, as a newsman and to visit family and friends, and covered the Yom Kippur War in 1973. His second career was as a family therapist and addiction counselor. Dalia, his wife of 57 years, is also from Israel.