Foreign Policy Blogs

Israeli Spy Candy?

The independent Egyptian newspaper Al-Dustor is reporting that Egyptian supermarket Al-Kubri has been selling, accidentally of course, boxes of sweets with Stars of David and Menorahs printed on them for Al-Mawlid Al-Nabawi (The Birth of the Prophet), which is today. The supermarket claims it has no idea where the boxes came from (by the way, adds the article, they are selling for only 12 pounds–$2.15 each!)


In addition, “citizens” who had purchased the boxes “indicated that this step confirms the complete Zionist penetration of the Egyptian market.”

A number of comments on the website poke fun at the article, and it would be an exaggeration to say that all Egyptians actually believe that Israel is trying to infiltrate Egypt through gift wrap.

However, some, including at least one commentator on the Al-Dustor article, may see this as another example of what many believe are illegitimate economic relations between Egypt and Israel. Chief among these concerns is Egypt’s selling of natural gas to Israel, the legality of which was contested by an Egyptian court last November but was found legal by a higher court in February and allowed to continue. The high court’s most recent decision has also been appealed. Egyptian popular opinion grew particularly heated about the issue during and after Israel’s January-February attack on Gaza.

It just so happens that today also marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday, Purim, in which people often exchange gifts and sweets. So maybe with all that gift wrap going around in the Middle East a box or two got mixed up during transport. After all, the two countries are right next to each other.


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Joseph Simons

Joseph Simons is a fellow at the Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) at the American University in Cairo. He received his Bachelor's of Arts in Political Science and Middle East Studies from McGill University in 2006 and has worked as a policy analyst in Washington, DC.

Areas of Focus:
Media; Security Issues; Egyptian Culture


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