The “cold peace” with Egypt may finally be warming up.
Until now, the Egyptian government has honored the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty in word, but the spirit of peace has been lacking, as Israel has remained an object of animosity.
But a textbook that made its appearance this semester for the first time teaches about the ”advantages of peace for Egypt and the Arab states,” The Jerusalem Post reported on Thursday.
In fact, the government of President Abdul-Fatah al-Sisi requires Egyptian students to memorize the provisions of the treaty.
The textbook was lauded by Ofir Winter, a research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, as “the first buds of development” in Egyptian educational attitudes towards peace.
”This is not a revolution but the changes are interesting,” he told The Media Line. ”The trend is positive but there is still a great deal to aspire to.”
The new text compares favorably to a 2002 Mubarak-era textbook, History for High School Pupils, more openly expressing support for peace with Israel than before, extolling the treaty for making possible ”the promotion of economic and social development and the repair of the country’s infrastructure.”
While the 2002 textbook devoted 32 pages to wars with Israel and only three to peace, the ratio in the new one is 12 to 4.
Winter noted another symbolic but significant change: The inclusion of a photograph of the signing of the peace treaty at the White House at which Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin is seen alongside Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and President Jimmy Carter.
”In the past, even when they spoke of the peace treaty, they hardly ever spoke of Israel,” says Winter. ”Israel’s presence was marginal. Now there is a picture and you see the Israeli partner.”