By Dan Raviv
Hearing that Hosni Mubarak, toppled early last year by courageous protesters in Egypt, has been sentenced to life in prison reminds me of the obsession Israeli intelligence has had with Egypt.
That goes back to the founding of the State of Israel in May 1948 — if only because Egypt and other Arab countries tried to snuff out the new Jewish state and failed. In secret, Israel — and it was mainly Agaf ha-Modi’in, or Aman (the military intelligence agency) doing this — tried to create unrest in Egypt. The president there, Gamal Abdel Nasser, had taken over in a military coup and kept thundering about throwing the Jews into the sea. Aman (the Israelis) sent operatives into Egypt, and their espionage and sabotage ring included local Egyptian Jews. There were few successes and plenty of failures, and while Israel tried to keep it secret — by use of press censorship, for instance — it did become a scandal in Israeli politics. Our book goes into that in detail, and of course we delve into Israel’s relationships with Nasser’s successor — Anwar Sadat — who made peace with Israel in 1978 and was assassinated because of that three years later.
Later, I’ll write some more about him — and then about his successor, Hosni Mubarak, and how the Israelis relied upon him as practically an ally in the Arab world.