Israel dreading a democratic Arab world

Saleh Naami in Gaza, Saturday 15 Jan 2011

The Israeli deputy PM expresses his concern over the democratisation of the Arab world, following the dissolution of the Tunisian leadership

Silvan Shalom

The fall of Tunisia’s regime headed by Zine El Abidine Ben Alican have serious repercussions, said Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom.

In an interview on Israeli radio Friday night, Shalom said that he comes from a family of Tunisian immigrants.

“I fear that we now stand before a new and very critical phase in the Arab world. If the current Tunisian regime collapses, it will not affect Israel’s present national security in a significant way,” he said. “But we can, however, assume that these developments would set a precedent that could be repeated in other countries, possibly affecting directly the stability of our system.”

Shalom added that if regimes neighbouring the Israeli state were replaced by democratic systems, Israeli national security might significantly be threatened. The new systems would defend or adopt agendas that are inherently opposed to Israeli national security, he said.

The deputy indicated that Israel and most of the Arab regimes have a common interest in fighting what he referred to as “Islamic fundamentalism” and its “radical” organisations which threaten Israel.

This threat, he added, is the reason behind much of the direct and indirect intelligence and security coordination between Israel and the Arab regimes.

Shalom emphasised that a democratic Arab world would end this present allegiance, because a democratic system would be governed by a public generally opposed to Israel. 

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