The Muslim Brotherhood's sweeping victory in the Egyptian parliamentary elections did not surprise former Israeli Ambassador to Cairo Yitzhak Levanon.
Levanon, who served as the ambassador during the Egyptian revolution last year, said "the biggest surprise came from the Salafi movement.
"The Muslim Brotherhood's victory was expected," Levanon told Ynet. "It was estimated that they would win between 35% and 45% of the votes. The big surprise is actually the Salafi movement, which nobody suspected would come in second."
Despite the results, the former ambassador believes Israel has nothing to fear: "The Brotherhood, which is the largest faction in the people's council, is starting to spread calming messages, saying for example that they don’t want to appoint a Muslim Brotherhood member as the Egyptian president.
Sending pacifying messages. Muslim Brotherhood (Photo: AFP)
"They are even sending pacifying messages to Israel, after the group's leader unequivocally stated on Friday that they will honor the peace treaty with Israel," he said.
'Brotherhood will follow consensus'
However, Levanon noted that "the formula presented by the Muslim Brotherhood, by which 'they'll respect the peace treaty as long as Israel does the same' is slightly alarming, because to many Egyptians – and especially members of the Brotherhood – the peace treaty with Israel is only one part of the deal, while the Palestinian issue is the other, unresolved, part. That's how they view Camp David."
"Even so," Levanon noted, "The Brotherhood is signaling that they will go with the general consensus inside Egypt. They won't do anything because they are afraid of failure."
The former ambassador said he believes Israel should hold talks with the Muslim Brotherhood. "Today there is a new distribution of political power in Egypt. Israel must make contact with every legal political element," he said.
Levanon noted that the situation in Egypt has deteriorated since the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak. "I can say that Egypt's condition is not as good as it was a year ago, on all fronts. For example, there is much more polarity between the Salafists and Copts, the young revolutionaries and the military council, and the security situation is extremely bad."
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop