Only Someone Like Mubarak Could Defend Netanyahu's Brand of Democracy

Can only Israel enjoy its limited democracy? The exodus from Egypt, from slavery to freedom, is for Hebrews only, not for Arabs.

Over the weekend, voices could still be heard in our country weeping over Hosni Mubarak, taken from us after 30 years in power and yet too soon.

Voices were still being heard mocking and criticizing U.S. President Barack Obama, accusing him of ignorance and treachery. Israeli television and radio were no comfort. "Fire on the Nile" they insisted on calling the revolution in Egypt, although hardly a plume of smoke was seen. The only fire burned in the hearts, and blessed is the match that kindled it.


This was a civil uprising, one that did not suit the wild and violent image we insist on ascribing to all Arabs and to all Muslims. If only the square had been awash in blood, we would feel better. If only more heavily bearded young men and veiled virgins had gathered, we would be more sure of our predictions; if only Israeli flags had been burned in the streets, we could frighten ourselves and the whole world, saying we were right again.

If not for the desperate provocations of the regime in its last moments, releasing horses and camels from its dark stables, this beautiful revolution might have ended without a drop of bloodshed. But people who did not predict the revolution beforehand will not understand its thereafter.

Over the weekend, we heard once again that old saw: "It's the economy, stupid." But it's not only the economy and not only unemployment; it's the humiliation. It's difficult to live with the dead in a cemetery, difficult to live on two dollars a day, but much more difficult not to be able to speak out against the rulers or to vote to replace them.

It's the insult, stupid, of life in the garbage without hope; of students who have no opportunities; of young people born in streets with open sewers.

They see their leaders in their local Olympus, cut off from reality, human beings who act like gods. It's the corruption, stupid, which drove people crazy and out to the streets.

True, the situation in Israel does not resemble that in Egypt. Here we don't get by on two dollars a day. But even here, desperate eyes watch their leaders in their ostentatiousness, in their greediness.

Indeed, from time to time, they're "attentive to the feelings of the public" but only because they have no feelings of their own. Our leaders may not have Swiss bank accounts, but Israel's citizens call them to account for their ethical failures and degeneration.

Meanwhile, the outgoing chief of staff continues in his round of farewells. "In the Middle East stability is preferable to democracy," he told a graduation ceremony of senior commanders. Does one smell a military coup in the air? Does that rule apply to all countries in the region, or can only Israel enjoy its limited democracy? The exodus from Egypt, from slavery to freedom, is for Hebrews only, not for Arabs. What was so good about this deceptive "stability"? What did we do with it all these years?

Did Benjamin Netanyahu not say that true peace can be forged only with democracies? Was it not Natan Sharansky who wrote a book on that theory, which George Bush praised? And now, all at once, it is only with the Mubaraks that Israel can make and keep agreements, and let the peoples go to hell.

Now Sharansky is being mentioned as Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's choice for United Nations ambassador.

By all means, send him there. Let him stand on an international podium, and together with his colleagues from Saudi Arabia, Libya, Algeria, Yemen and Iran, say, praise democracy in the name of Netanyahu, Lieberman and Ehud Barak.

Finally, we fit in to this region.