I presume that most of my readers have heard or read about the riots going on in Egypt for almost a week. Cairo, Egypt’s capital, a city of about 18 million people, was the scene of violent chaos as tens of thousands of anti-government protesters stoned and confronted police, who fired back with rubber bullets and tear gas — a major escalation in the biggest challenge to Egyptian President Mubarak’s  30-year rule. The rioters claim it is the bad economic situation which is forcing them to demand Mubarak’s resignation and that no political faction is behind them. But that doesn’t explain the much looting going on, the destroying of property, even breaking into the Egyptiam national museum and breaking up ancient exhibits.

 We in Israel believe that if the regime falls, the successor regime will not be a liberal democracy and mostly fear that the fanatic “Muslim Brotherhood” will come into power. Mubarak has kept peaceful relations with Israel all these years, and if the Muslim brotherhood which is supported by Iran, takes over, we are afraid it will be the end of this peace. Mubarak’s military authoritarianism will be replaced by Islamic totalitarianism.

President Shimon Peres met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel a few days ago, and they discussed Egypt, peace talks and the Iranian nuclear program. Concerning Egypt he said “Democracy can not start and end in elections only. True democracy begins on the day after the elections, in granting human rights and concern for citizens’ welfare. And if a religious extremist dictatorship rises the day after democratic elections, (like the Hamas in Gaza) what are democratic elections worth.”  He added,” Iran is working to bring a religious hegemony to the Middle East. The Iranian problem is not an Israeli monopoly, but an international problem.

Last Thursday was International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The day was evidently chosen because on that date, January the 27th, the Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated. There were different services and remembrance meetings in most European countries, also in Israel in different towns and institutes, although here we also have our own solemn Holocaust Remembrance Day every year, a week before Independence Day.

Turkey has lately produced a very anti-semitic and anti-Israel film, which tells lies about what happened on the Marmara ship sailing to Gaza. It shows Israel soldiers as brutal monsters and many untruths about what really happened, and  reminds us of Nazi anti-Jewish propaganda of former years. The film is being shown in European countries, unfortunately with so many people believing what they see. But here I will again mention Angela Merkel, because it must be said to her credit, that she did not allow this film to be seen in Germany on Holocaust Remembrance Day. That’s all for today. Shalom from Irene




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