by Patrick Appel

Gil Yaron reports:

"If regime change occurs in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood would take the helm, and that would have incalculable consequences for the region," says [Eli Shaked, who was Israel's ambassador to Cairo from 2003 to 2005]. The Israeli government has noted with concern the fact that, even after 30 years of peace, Egypt's army is still equipped and trained mainly with a possible war against Israel in mind.

A cancellation of the peace treaty would open up a new front for Israel against the 11th largest army in the world, which is equipped with modern American weapons. But what Israel fears more than a -- somewhat unlikely -- armed conflict with Egypt is an alliance between an Islamist regime in Cairo and Hamas, which considers itself an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Bruce Riedel doesn't think we should fear them:

The Egyptian Brotherhood renounced violence years ago, but its relative moderation has made it the target of extreme vilification by more radical Islamists. Al Qaeda’s leaders, Osama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri, started their political lives affiliated with the Brotherhood but both have denounced it for decades as too soft and a cat’s paw of Mubarak and America.

Egypt’s new opposition leader, former International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohamed ElBaradei, has formed a loose alliance with the Brotherhood because he knows it is the only opposition group that can mobilize masses of Egyptians, especially the poor. He says he can work with it to change Egypt. Many scholars of political Islam also judge the Brotherhood is the most reasonable face of Islamic politics in the Arab world today. Skeptics fear ElBaradei will be swept along by more radical forces.

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