Shlomi Eldar is a contributing writer for Al-Monitor’s Israel Pulse. For the past two decades, he has covered the Palestinian Authority and especially the Gaza Strip for Israel’s Channels 1 and 10, and has reported on the emergence of Hamas. In 2007, he was awarded the Sokolov Prize, Israel’s most important media award, for this work. He has published two books: Eyeless in Gaza (2005), which anticipated the Hamas victory in the subsequent Palestinian elections, and Getting to Know Hamas (2012).

Project Summary

The ideological underpinnings of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood are a belief in the return to Islam, the imposition of sharia law, and the cleansing of Arab society in general—and the Muslim community in particular—of all Western influences, and particularly American cultural influence, that have infiltrated the Dar al-Islam, or Muslim realm. In 2012, the Muslim Brotherhood won an overwhelming victory in election to the new Egyptian parliament, and its leader, Mohamed Morsi, became the country’s first freely elected president. This study proposes to assess the direction that the new Muslim Brotherhood-led government in Egypt will take by comparing its rise to power with the electoral victory of Hamas—the Palestinian branch of the movement—in Gaza in 2006. Will a commitment to responsible government cause Morsi and his movement to seek out religious justifications with to veer away from an unyielding ideology toward more tractable compromises in order to further its political, national, and international interests?