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February 08, 1980 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1980-02-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


The Egyptians Want a Slow Normalization

TEL AVIV "The na-
ture of normalization is
such that Israelis seize upon
every tiny demonstration of
normalization as an indica-
tion that the Egyptians' in-
tentions are genuine and
that the territories were not
relinquished in vain, while
even those Egyptians who
favor the peace process are
in no great hurry to nor-
malize relations, augment-
ing the Egyptian rift with
the Arab world," say three
Arab experts of Tel Aviv
University's Shiloah Center
for Middle Eastern and Af-
rican Studies who have just
returned from an eight-day
trip to Egypt.
The three are Profs. Haim
Shaked and Itamar
Rabinovich, and Elie Re-
khess. They were welcomed
with warmth and
enthusiasm throughout
their stay.
"Despite the centralized,
controlling role of the gov-
ernment, there is a wide
spectrum of opinion which
does not coincide with the
declared government posi-
tion, although Sadat has
thus far been able to use the
diversity towards his own
ends," says Prof. Shaked.

Prof. Rabinovich said
some of the Egyptian elite
who support the idea of
peace feel that Sadat has
compromised too much
and that normalization is
not a good idea. On a per-
sonal, professional level,
they are concerned about
jeopardizing their con-
tacts with the Arab

They are afraid that El Al
planes landing in Egypt will
result in Arab airlines re-
fusing to deal with Egypt,
cutting them off from the
Arab world. Egyptian
writers, playwrights..and
filmmakers naturally want
their works to reach the
entire Arab world.
Egyptian university
people often spend several
lucrative years in Libya and
Persian Gulf universities,
and many stand to lose by
the repercussions of overt
At the other end of the
spectrum are leftists, radi-
cal Muslims, and Nasserites
who negate the entire peace
process. The three Tel Aviv
University experts visited
the office of the El-Daawa
magazine, published by the
Muslim Brothers, one of the
most outspoken Muslim
groups opposing the peace
process, to try and gain in-
sight into their approach.

Joined by a fourth Tel

Research Grant


Stephen Murray Poppel, di-
rector of the Department of
Modern Jewish Civilization
of the Reconstructionist
Rabbinical College, has re-
ceived a research grant
from the National Endow-
ment for the Humanities to
pursue his studies on "The
Modern Rabbi and Jewish
Community Leadership in
19th Century Gerniany."

Proud and inaccessible is
timid and weak.

Aviv University profes-
sor, expert in Arab litera-
ture Prof. Sasson
Somekh, the Tel Aviv
University group came to
the editorial office offer-
ing to discuss the Middle
East situation. The reply
by Mustafa Mashur, "We
are against peace in its
present format while
there is still oppression.
It is all clear. It is all writ-

The magazine recently
described normalization as
"a dangerous cancer which
will kill all the living cells of
our body."
But the EI-Daawa editors
are not on the lunatic
fringes of Egyptian society,
explains Prof. Rabinovich.
"They are an opposition
which, at times, blends into
the total Egyptian orchest-
ration, serving Sadat's
ends, and representing an
Islamic trend which is in
fashion now throughout the
Arab world, and is of mas-
sive scope in Egypt as well."
To what extent they can be
indefinitely controlled re-
mains in question.
Rekhess pointed out the
distinction some Egyptians
make between normaliza-
tion on a government level
and normalization on a per-
sonal level, in which they
indicate that all the com-
mitments of the Camp
David agreements could be
fulfilled on a political plane,
without the Egyptian indi-
vidual having to participate
of his own accord on a per-
sonal, commercial, or cul-
tural level. This was a sig-
nal picked up by Egyptians
from official announce-
ments following a crisis in
the autonomy talks while
the Tel Aviv University ex-
perts were in Egypt.

Thus, the views of sev-
eral Egyptians who
spoke to the Tel Aviv
group favorably in the
beginning of the week
underwent a substantial
change by the end of that

"If Sadat were to leave the
government or radically
change his position," cau-
tions Prof. Shaked, "I can
well imagine the important
Egyptian sectors and with
them the entire Egyptian
people falling into line with
the new stand — with no
street riots."
But on the whole, the
overall outlook reflected in
the experts' talks with
Egyptians, who asked to
remain anonymous, is a

Hoffman Role
in War Film


Hoffman has agreed to play
an Israeli soldier who be-
comes friendly with his
Egyptian captor during the
1973 Yom Kippur War in a
film being prepared by
Columbia Pictures.
Hoffman has been offered
$3.5 million to play the role.
The film is based on the
story written by Mahmoud
Kabil, who captured Israeli
pilot Yair Barak on the first
day of the 1967 Six-Day

move towards peace and
towards gradual normaliza-
tion, not necessarily for the
intrinsic value of friendship
with Israel, but as an ex-
pression of the Egyptian
perception of what the Mid-
dle East scenario should be
— Western-oriented, with
Egyptian individualism
and leadership, which will
revitalize those spheres of

Friday, February 8, 1980 15


a limited edition of
11 x 14 framed, signed, scenic photographs
Available for purchase at

Egyptian society that badly
need attention.
But normalization, even
to those Egyptians who
endorse it, is still accom-
panied by a certain embar-
rassment before the Arab
world, and they would
rather see it proceed slowly,
and may continue to exploit
it as a leverage for Israeli


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