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Egypt is important to Israel because it is the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with the Jewish state, in 1979. The Egyptian military, which is the caretaker regime in Cairo until presidential elections are held in September, has said there will be no change to the peace treaty, but there are signs the next government would be hostile to Israel.

Egypt’s new foreign minister, Nabil el-Araby, named this week to the caretaker government has said he would support trying Israeli leaders in international courts for crimes of aggression.

Ayman Nour, a secular politician who was jailed by now-ousted President Hosni Mubarak in 2006 after an unsuccessful challenge to his presidency, said last month that if he were elected president, he would review the treaty with Israel.

“There is a wide part of the population in Egypt and I think also in high ranks of the military of people that don’t want to see Egypt becoming Iran,” Mr. Kuperwasser said. “They don’t want to see Egypt becoming a radical power, to see Egypt leaving the pragmatic part of the Arab world that maintains reasonable relations with the West.”

Mr. Kuperwasser said he did not know if this segment of the population is the majority, but he said it is a significant number of people.

“Many people want to see more justice, more wealth shared within the country, more participation in the political process, but they don’t want that to lead to a radical state,” he said.

At the same time Mr. Kuperwasser said Egyptians had been bombarded with textbooks, media and other materials that in essence say Jews have no legitimate right to a homeland in modern-day Israel.

“The public in Egypt was never told or educated to support the idea of accepting Jews in the Middle East in general or Jews elsewhere,” Mr. Kuperwasser said. “The numbers of versions of protocols of elders of Zion in Arabic in Egypt is very large, you see it in the Egyptian curriculum, textbooks, all these things.”