An Egyptian blogger who was sentenced to prison for making atheist comments has published a short video clip in which he questioned why the Arab world hates Israel, concluding that it was down to envy of the Jewish state’s achievements.
Sherif Gaber posted the video on Monday under the title “Why do you hate Israel?”
Speaking in Arabic with English subtitles, Gaber, a former college student in his early twenties, questioned whether the Jewish influx to the land Palestinians claim as their own was really “colonization” and noted that the Islamic conquest of Egypt in 640 CE converted it from a Coptic to a Muslim country.
Listing Israeli innovations and success in high tech, science, and military technology, Gaber argued that the Israelis have made better use of the land than the Arabs would have if it were a Palestinian state.
“If the Palestinians took the land it would be just like any other Arab country,” he said. “Either they’ll not use the land so well, or the government will rob its people just like any Arab country.”
Gaber pointed to women’s rights as one area where he thought Israel excelled.
“Israel is the best country for women in the Middle East,” he asserted. “If you’re a woman, the safest country for you in the Middle East to live in” is Israel.
The hatred that the Arab world has for the Jewish state is founded in envy, he concluded.
“In fact, the controversy between Arabs and Israel is no longer because of the land and who deserves it; actually Arabs don’t care so much about that; all this anger and violent resentment has nothing to do with anything but envy, and deep inside that anger and hate you’d actually find great admiration of such a country.”
The video, interspersed with clips from other movies, had been viewed over 55,000 times on YouTube by Thursday morning.
Gaber made headlines earlier this year when he was sentenced to a year in prison for “contempt of religion” after authorities at the Suez Canal University in Ismailia where he was studying reported him in 2013 for setting up a pro-atheism Facebook page.
Bail was set for about $130 until an appeal could be heard but Gaber went on the run and has been in hiding ever since.