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Saudi-Egypt crisis leaves Israel concerned

Two arms deals recently inked by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has Israel baffled and worried.

Mountains of words have been written about the wonders of the “Sunni axis” of pragmatic Arab states, each of which maintains an “extramarital affair” — that is, low-profile relations — with Israel. This alliance was supposed to form the basis of a regional peace process about which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and even Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid fantasize. This surreptitious relationship is fueled by secret meetings between all the parties, high-quality intelligence passed from one to the other, and various and sundry efforts at cooperation that take place below the media’s radar.

On the other hand, the Sunni axis has yet to provide the real goods, i.e., a genuine peace process encompassing the entire region. It is doubtful whether it can actually provide such without any real progress on the Palestinian-Israeli track. Netanyahu is fully aware that there is only one free meal ticket available in the Middle East, and that is when you yourself are the main course. Now, however, even the little that has been achieved through surreptitious meetings is currently at risk.

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