For Israel, Egypt Social Networking, Facebook, Twitter - People To People Communication Critical

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel ---- February 12, 2011 ...... Two peoples who share a very common historic and cultural past. Both Semitic from the desert who embrace family values, houmus, the same wind, sun and languages that begin from right to left.

Today at peace with a stable, growing trade and mutual interests in security and tourism.

But are the people from Israel and Egypt so alike?

From what one hears from our governments, the answer appears to be yes. But if you talk to the man on the street in Cairo, the answer might be somewhat different.

Now that Mubarak has resigned and the revolution for democracy is now taking hold, one must wonder what kind of new government will be formed.

Will it oppose or support Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, Iran and Islamic Jihad?

Will this new democracy allow itself to be hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhood who have declared that "democracy is bad for Egypt" and create a new and hostile threat to Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Europe and the US?

Anti-Semitism has been rampant in Egypt for ages. And even though former Egypt President Hosni Mubarak was a friend of Israel, he too suffered from that anti-Semitism as those who despise democracy and freedom would characterize Mubarak as a Jew in the worst manner. But even he and his colleagues did nothing to address it.

News stories and caricatures in the Egypt media have regularly featured anti-Semitic depictions of Jews as stooped, hook-nosed, money-hungry and conspiratorial. Israel leaders are illustrated as Nazis, while other articles deny or diminish the Holocaust. Anti Israel and anti Jewish conspiracy theories frequently surface, including references to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and modern reincarnations of the medieval blood-libel charge.

Facebook, Twitter: Web 2.0 communication tools to bridge cultural divides.

What Israel has is a cold peace with Egypt. This cold peace appears to remain in effect as the Egypt military has declared that they will honor the peace treaties. But what about the people of Egypt? Those who have read that Israelis drink the blood of Palestinian babies and hate each and every Egyptian.

Israel is now faced with an image, PR challenge that it has never had to truly address with Egypt until now.

In the last few hours I and others from Israel have written in Arabic that the people of Israel wish the Egyptian people long life, peace and democracy. Many of these remarks have been met with hateful responses. That we, the Jews are lying and that the Jews of Israel are nothing less than lambs in the clothing of wolves.

If we truly want a real democracy to take hold in Egypt, we must look beyond statements coming from the Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If we truly want a democracy to develop and grow in Egypt with a warm peace between Egypt and Israel the responsibility should not remain solely on the shoulders of the Mossad, CIA, NSA, the US State Department and the English and France Ministries of Foreign Affairs.

For as it has been said, a peace between peoples is far more potent than a peace between governments.

There has never been a more sensitive time for the survival of Israel than today.
We need not a hostile threat coming from the south, nor does the IDF need a new front to mobilize upon.

Israel needs a peoples PR campaign aimed and targeted towards the good people of Egypt. We need to take to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and let the Egyptian hear directly from us that we are not their enemies. That we share similar goals and values. That our past, our present and future historical, cultural and political ties should be determined by all we have in common - not by any differences that can be exploited by Jihadists who wish to destroy any healthy relationship.

According to the ADL, if one were to ask the average Egyptian what a Jew looks like, it would not be surprising after the Egyptian media has consistently used derogatory images of Jews and Judaism if he or she described a dark, bearded, hooknosed man clad in black with a demonic appearance. The Egyptian might say Judaism is a sinister religion, based upon cabals and blood rituals, whose purpose is to corrupt and destroy Islam as part of a plan to rule the world. Israelis need to set the record straight by creating direct and friendly contact with Egyptians through Facebook and Twitter.

The Israel News Agency asks of every Israeli, of every Jew to change their profile picture in the Facebook and Twitter to that of the Egypt and Israel flags as seen in this news story. To join every Egypt room on Facebook, every thread on Twitter and using Google Translate to state in their native Arab language that Israel wishes the people of Egypt only long life, peace, democracy and prosperity.

That Israel has been a good friend for the last three decades and wishes to be even a better friend with greater trade and tourism between these two great nations.

Since the establishment of peace between Israel and Egypt, the two countries have developed trade relations in a number of realms, such as textiles, machinery, chemicals, vegetables and cotton. The peace treaty clearly specifies that Israel will purchase Egyptian oil on a regular basis.

Since the establishment of relations, there is tourism between the Israel and Egypt, with the Sinai Peninsula a popular site for Israeli visitors - especially in the summer months. The flow of Egyptian and foreign tourists to Israel from Egypt has steadily been growing.

There will be those who will say let the Egyptians say something nice first. To these people, I can only respond by saying that we must view Egyptian mentality as having been somewhat crippled, brainwashed by anti-Semitic propaganda. We must take the first step by openly declaring on Facebook and Twitter our admiration for Egypt, for their rich history, their culture and our condolences for those who died for democracy.

We must invite them to visit Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa. We must create inexpensive tourism packages and warmly greet them at the airport.

We must communicate that we are human beings whose only agenda is to live side by side in a real and lasting peace for which our children and our children's children shall enjoy and prosper from.



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