Today's Golden Oldie is from August 2005. The blog was just a few days old and I wrote a column called "The Egyptian". At the time we had just pulled out of Gaza. The face in the cartoon was Mubarak's, but the Egyptian I wrote about was someone else. I thought of him again today. Here's the column and cartoon as I did it back then: We in the Jewish world are all debating the pullout from Gaza. A ghastly mistake for Israel? A first step to peace? What will this mean for Sharon? What will this mean for Israel? What will this mean for the Palestinians? For Hamas? For The WestHey, there’s way more than two sides to any story (at least in the Middle East) and in a curious way the Egyptian side of the tale is being ignored. The Egyptian government has been fighting Islamic terrorists for years. Terrorists have struck with devastating results, both in carnage and in damage to Egypt’s Tourism industry.But for me, Egypt's problems took a personal twist when, in July 2005, just two months ago, the new Egyptian ambassador to Iraq was kidnapped and killed. The news was posted on Al Jazeera. The murder was a slap in the face to Mubarak’s regime, but it was a sad moment for those of us who knew Ihab al-Sheriff as a friend. He represented Cairo in Israel before being posted to the "new" Iraq. He was an intelligent, creative man, and an avid and talented photographer. He made many friends in Israel. I was one of them. His death was a shock to those of us who thought there was nothing left that could shock us.
Once, in his Tel Aviv office I took note of a lava lamp standing on his desk. He laughed, thinking that I thought of Egyptians as militaristic and had mistaken it for a model of an Egyptian missile. Two days later a limo from the Egyptian Embassy turned up at my home delivering the lava lamp as a present from Ihab, and presumably from the people of Egypt.