An IDF tank takes position along Israel's border with Egypt's North Sinai
An IDF tank takes position along Israel’s border with Egypt’s North Sinai


Relations between Egypt and Israel are at their “best” because of ongoing security coordination, a high-level source said.

The Iraqi daily Azzaman quoted the source on Wednesday as saying that even though President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is not going to visit the Jewish state anytime soon, there is ongoing security coordination related to the war against terrorist organizations near the border with Israel.

This includes Israel’s granting permission to Egypt allowing more forces into the Sinai than permitted in the 1979 peace treaty between the two countries, added the source.

Another source in the Egyptian presidency said the domestic Egyptian situation and the lack of progress in resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict prevented a visit to the Jewish state.

Zvi Mazel, who served as Israel’s sixth ambassador to Egypt and is currently a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and a contributor to this newspaper, said that the Azzaman article is very interesting since the Egyptian sources not only abstained from using negative language regarding Israel, but praised the good relations between the two countries.

Undoubtedly, he said, the security cooperation is very important for Egypt since it is wrestling with persistent Islamic terrorism that prevents Sisi from directing all his energy and resources to economic development.

“That cooperation is in the same time important to Israel given that the terrorists operate very close to the Israeli border.”

Regarding a possible visit of Sisi in Israel, “no one here expected it to occur in the present circumstances,” said Mazel. Perhaps after the Egyptian president stabilizes the domestic situation then it could be possible to warm economic ties with Israel, he asserted.

Regarding the source’s comment enumerating the advantages of importing gas from Israel, Mazel noted that The supply of Israeli gas to Egypt deals with a very urgent energy need of Egypt.

“Egypt is still the most important Arab country and its stability and prosperity are important to all the countries bordering the Mediterranean basin,” he added.

Prof. Hillel Frisch, of Bar-Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that relations with Egypt “are quickly modeling the traditional relationship between Israel and Jordan – excellent security cooperation but as far from the public eye as possible.”

“Egypt maintains excellent security ties over Sinai and Hamas,” he said, noting that Egypt made sure to refrain from inviting Israel to the festivities surrounding the inauguration of the expansion of the Suez canal last month.

“The key difference between the Israeli-Egyptian relationship compared to the Jordanian-Israeli case lies in the consistency of such a relationship. Egypt is far too ambitious and too competitive with Israel to maintain such a relationship in the long term,” argued Frisch.

Any major success in the Sinai counterinsurgency effort in Sinai could be offset by the successful development of the massive gas field discovered off Egypt’s coast, he asserted. This could lead Egypt into a more competitive relationship with the Jewish state, added Frisch.

As reported by The Jerusalem Post