Photo of Friendly Embrace Between Senior Egyptian and Israeli Security Officials Sparks Online Furor
A photo of a friendly embrace between Egyptian intelligence official General Amir al Damogy and Israeli counterpart General Assaf Orion was posted by popular Arab social media accounts over the weekend, enraging online readers who objected to the high-level collaboration between the armed forces of the two countries, which one Facebook page declared as “traitorous.”
The photograph, first uploaded to Facebook on August 13, 2013, was taken from the cover of a United Nations Director General’s report from 2011. The Facebook page, titled “Brotherhood Intelligence Agency (ASA),” has a large following of 151,000 “likes” and, according to Israel’s Channel 2, was created by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.
The post condemned the “apparent coordination between the parties, Egypt and Israel,” which it said was “completely contrary to common logic and health.” It called for the purge of “traitors” from within the Egyptian Army and claimed that “we (the Muslim Brotherhood) are the only ones who can do it,” according to Channel 2’s translation.
Reader comments on the post emphasized the point that “traitors sold Egypt,” as one wrote.
The message in other words is that the Egyptian Army, which is leading the nation after the overthrow of Muslim Brotherhood leader and former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, is beholden to Israel, and should be taken down, presumably to allow the Brotherhood to regain control over the country, an unnamed Israeli security official explained to Channel 2.
“To the Muslim Brotherhood it is clear,” the Israeli security official said, “that since the number of fatalities in Egypt is not as high as in Syria, and the Army there still has the support of most of the public, therefore, they must do everything to harm the Egyptian army, which is not simple, but there is nothing better than to show that the generals embraced the Israelis.”
The security official added that Brotherhood operatives will do everything to find more pictures like this. “As time passes and as the situation deteriorates, the Brotherhood, which does not have military capabilities, are trying to pull Israel into the conflict, which is the only point around which they can create an Egyptian consensus,” he said.
Rather than being “drawn into” the fray, he said the long-running “below the surface” contacts between the Egyptian and Israeli security forces were important to maintain and foster.
The controversial Facebook post came after reports last week confirming heightened collaboration between the two armies, particularly in the Sinai Peninsula, where Brotherhood supporters have fled to join the ranks of Al Qaeda groups that are seeking to establish autonomy.