Photo: AP
'When Egypt's population is 100 million, it will mean 100 million hungry and dangerous people'
Photo: AP
Photo: Meir Partush
Eitan Haber
Photo: Meir Partush

Scary future ahead

Op-ed: Leaders of 100 million hungry Egyptians will direct animosity towards nine million Israelis

By the time you're done reading this article, a few dozen more babies will have been born in Egypt. In a day, their number will reach hundreds, and a week – thousands.


Here are two informative numbers: Thirty years ago, when Menachem Begin signed the peace treaty with Egypt, there were 32 million people living there. Today there are about 82 million, and some say there are even many more. Here’s a riddle: When will the number of Egyptians, our neighbors, reach 100 million?


One cannot forget the sights in Cairo when Israeli journalists landed there for the first time after decades of animosity and wars: The masses on Cairo's streets. Swarms of people, huge crowds. At the first moment, we deluded ourselves to believe that millions of Egyptians had come out to cheer on the first Israelis in Cairo. At the second moment, we were struck by shock: The masses didn't even give us a second glance.


It turned out that was the natural situation in peeling Cairo: Divisions of men, women and children. Very soon they'll reach 100 million people, more than 10 times the number of citizens in the State of Israel.


There's no need to be alarmed at the moment. It seems the current situation in Egypt does not hold any trouble for Israel, unless we have been captured once again by a "conception," like what happened to us the eve of the Yom Kippur War. At the moment Egyptians are killing Egyptians, Arabs are hurting Arabs – and we, what do we care? They won't plow their revolution on the State of Israel's back, and in any case we won't let them do so.


But anyone who cares about the State of Israel, and doesn't just live the moment and the hour, must think about the future. About 10 years from now (which go by very fast), 20 years, the future of our children and grandchildren. Whoever is preparing the IDF, for example, for a possible military conflict with Egypt in a decade, must start preparing everything now, yesterday. Time goes by slowly only in songs. In reality, it is already the day after tomorrow.


When the population of Egypt is 100 million, it will mean 100 million hungry mouths, 100 million mouths gaping to be fed with 100 million pieces of pita bread a day, 100 million glasses of water. These 100 million hungry people are dangerous. They will kill and get killed for a pita, all the more so when their rich neighbor and quite a few of its residents eat caviar for dinner.


In Cairo, people's eyes will come out of their sockets not just because of jealousy, but also because of hunger. The leaders of the 100 million hungry people there will direct the animosity towards the nine million living here. Our grandchildren may experience war. And another one, and more. And what about Syria? And Lebanon? And Jordan and the Palestinians? It's very possible that it will be very scary living here in the next decade and after.


What is left for us, as Israelis and neighbors, is to try to do something that appears delusional or insane at the moment: Become part of the food granary for the 100 million hungry mouths. Recruit the United States with generous grants, get Europe to help, take part in selling food to the Egyptian consumers.


How? What? That's why we have a prime minister and a government whose most important job, apart from physically defending the State, is to reduce the levels of hatred as much as possible and blunt the edge of the Egyptian sword, which appears so far away right now.


But who here cares today about the fate of Ahmed of Cairo and Muhammad of Port Said? We are living the moment, the day and the week. The idea presented here may well be unpractical and not good, but is anyone here even thinking of an idea?



פרסום ראשון: 07.08.13, 20:17
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