Israel and Egypt’s 10 million Coptic Christians have a common fear that hasty elections in post-Mubarak Egypt will allow Islamic radicals to rise to power, much as they did following Iran’s revolution in 1979.
According to Reuters, most of Egypt’s Christians voted on Saturday against proposed constitutional amendments out of concern that they would lay the groundwork for general elections as early as September.
If elections are held so soon in Egypt, there will be almost no time for newly formed political parties to gain enough recognition and popularity to actually win any significant number of votes. That means only the established parties will have a real shot at winning a controlling stake in the next parliament.
Of the established parties, Mubarak’s National Democratic Party has been discredited, leaving only the Muslim Brotherhood and its political front groups.
“Our role as those responsible for enlightenment is to tell people that these amendments serve the Brotherhood’s ideology,” a Coptic priest told Reuters, noting that the proposed constitutional amendments seek to establish Islam as the official state religion and the basis for all legislation.
In an interview with CNN, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the region simply cannot survive Egypt becoming a second Islamic Republic (after Iran).
Netanyahu noted that five years ago the Lebanese rose up just as the Egyptians did last month. They took to the streets of Beirut in their millions and demanded freedom and reform. Today, Lebanon is more under the thumb of Hizballah than ever before, and is little more than a vassal of Iran.