Shevat 8, 5777

This day in Jewish history, Shevat 8, marks the day that the Egyptian parliament voted to end its boycott of Israel in 1979; one of the first countries in the Arab League to renege on the boycott. Originally, the Egyptians were one of the main advocates for the Arab League Boycott of Israel that started in 1945, even before Israel declared statehood. It was an attempt to weakening Jewish industry and deter Jewish Immigration to the yishuv (Ha-yishuv was the term for pre-Israel state Jewish communities, which numbered approximately 700,000 people in 1948).

Despite this peace treaty with Israel, the Egyptian-Israeli relationship is best described as a “cold peace.” Israel’s second ambassador to Egypt, Moshe Sasson, declared that the peace treaty was “engendered neither by a devotion to peace as a value per se, nor by some sort of ideological shift. It was, in fact, motivated by a purely Egyptian national interest.”

One of many economic benefits of peace has been the enormous sum of international aid, namely from the U.S. But while peace on paper equates to international economic gains, their animosity towards Israel continues through the media in order to gain governmental support. Egypt preserves this cold peace for economic benefit, while continuing to disseminate a vitriol hatred of Jews, Zionism, and Israel in the media, through state-controlled newspapers.

Today in History, Egypt had agreed to a cold economic peace for national self-interest. Hopefully in the future, that peace will extend into the homes and hearts of the Egyptian public opinion. But it will only come about when the Egyptian leadership accepts a true reconciliation with Israel and stops relentlessly demonizing and dehumanizing Jews via anti-semitic content in their state-sponsored media.