The Nile Ritz Carlton in Cairo was the scene of Israel Independence Day celebrations hosted by the Israel Embassy in Egypt on Tuesday, the first such festivity since the Arab Spring uprising in 2011.
Although the event was attended mostly by foreign diplomats, a few Egyptians also attended. Analysts called the party a sign of warming ties between Israel and Egypt, led by Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi, a former general who overthrew the pro-Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi in 2013.
The event was catered by Israeli chef Shaul Ben Aderet, who is known for wearing a chef’s uniform adorned with an Israeli flag. Though Ben Aderet has been to many countries around the world to showcase Israeli cuisine, this was his first visit to Egypt.
Israeli Ambassador to Cairo David Govrin told attendees that Israel welcomed a new warming of ties with the Arab world, and praised Saudi Prince Mohammad bin Salman for joining “the vision of stability and economic development shared by Egypt and Israel.”
He also took the opportunity to throw shade at Iran, saying “only a regional common struggle may confront Iran’s striving for nuclear weapons and undermine its consistent support to the terror organizations in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.”
Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel, under President Anwar Sadat in 1979, but popular support for the Palestinians has kept relations distant. In February, Israel and Egypt signed a $15 billion deal by which Israel would supply Egypt with natural gas.
Israel was forced to close its Cairo embassy in 2011 after mobs associated with the Arab Spring broke into the building, but reopened in 2015 in a more advanced facility.