An Illusory First 'Egypt Spring'

60 years ago, Israeli officials followed the Egyptian revolution with a glimmer of hope. But the internal upheavals led Ben-Gurion to dismiss Israel's neighbor as a 'regime of gangs.'

As a boy, Muhammad Naguib liked to play with tin soldiers. That was in Khartoum, Sudan, where he was born in 1901. His father, an officer in the army of Farouk I, king of Egypt and the Sudan, hoped his son would choose a civilian profession. The younger Naguib studied languages in order to become an interpreter; he knew English, French, German and Italian and eventually also began to learn Hebrew. He also began...