Egyptian street: the big worry

While maintaining close ties with Israel, Egypt's former leader Hosni Mubarak never did anything to counter the virulent animosity towards the Jewish state found throughout Egyptian society.

Meanwhile, his temporary successors, the military government, will not go out on a limb to defend the Jewish state - not while the Palestinians are challenging Israel at the UN and Turkey is ramping up its war of words.

Following Mubarak's departure, Israel was reassured that the Camp David Accords would be adhered to. On the ground, things have been different.

Long before the mob stormed Israel's embassy last Friday, the military government had been under intense pressure from the street to abandon the treaty with Israel.

The centre-point of the treaty, the buffer-region of Sinai, has descended into anarchy as terrorists roam at will. Israel was blamed for the cross-fire killing of five Egyptian soldiers after a terror attack on Israel's border four weeks ago, sparking the violent anti-Israel demonstrations and embassy attack.

Israel is hoping that the generals will retain some degree of authority and that Egypt's new civil leaders will not risk US ire by tearing up the peace accords. That is why Israel has remained conciliatory, allowing the entrance of Egyptian troops into Sinai. But senior Israeli officials admit: "This is short-term - we have no idea how things will turn out with Egypt."

Last updated: 1:25pm, September 15 2011