Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Egypt – CLXXXI. A Return Visit (10 of 15)

As was agreed, Khaled, after Cairo, arranged for additional out of town visits.


Ismailia is situated on the west bank of the Suez Canal. It is a quiet and enchanting little city with about 750,000 inhabitants. It was a relief to be there, far away from the hustle and bustle of Cairo.

Ahmad, our driver, got “promoted.” He knew the city well and acted as our guide. He brought out its calm beauty, and took us to visit some of its best hotels. “You should come here for a few days to relax,” he insisted. (Of course, if I had all the time and money in the world I would have done just that!)

We stopped at one of those hotels and had a superb lunch by the pool.

Ismailia has on the other side of the railway line a poor section where three-quarter of the population lives. Alas, like Ismailia, many cities in the world have beauty and ugliness lying side by side.

The Suez Canal

I looked at this enormous body of water and wondered at the conflicts that have surrounded it. First Egypt found itself in debt and was subjected to the supervision of England and France. Then Britain used it as an excuse to partially occupy Egypt. In 1956, after Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized it, the Suez Canal Crisis exploded and it involved many nations; it also meant the end of the road for Jews and foreigners who have, in some cases, resided in Egypt for more than a century.

From wherever you see it, the canal is quite a sight; I saw it at Ismailia, and whenever possible travelled along it.

The Canal was planned and built under the direction of Ferdinand de Lesseps. It was opened for navigation in 1869. It stretches over 100 miles from the Mediterranean Sea (at Port Said) to the Red Sea (at Suez). It can handle ships as large as 150,000 tons.

It provided a maritime shortcut between Europe and Asia in that it eliminated the need to circumnavigate Africa. As well, carrying cargo overland between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea was no longer required.

The Canal is the most prominent object on the planet that can be seen from outer space.

As a tourist, you can see as little or as much as your time and budget permit. You can travel overland along the Canal, or by ship. It is an important tourist destination that should not be missed.

[Yes, I know, I cited so many (not to be missed) tourist attractions, that you have to wonder what you should see and what you should leave out. This is Egypt after all, and a visit there requires you to make difficult decisions. Then again, you can always come back for a second visit!]

Making the desert bloom

I have often bemoaned the fact that Egypt is such a large country, but that most of it is desert. With some 80 million inhabitants, the obvious question is, can Egypt make the desert bloom?

An Egyptian friend in Canada told me that Egypt, with the help of Israel, has done just that.

Thus I requested from Khaled that my tour includes a visit to some of the agricultural lands that has been snatched from the desert.

Khaled left the decision in the hands of Magdi and Ahmad.

It proved to be a long day, but they took me to see this modern miracle. And were they (not only my guide and driver, but also the desert farmers we met) ever proud to show me that amazing accomplishment. Sadly, not a word was mentioned about Israel’s role!

The Bar-Lev Line

The Bar-Lev line was a chain of fortifications built by Israel along the Eastern Coast of the Suez Canal after the 1967 war.

Supposedly, breaching it was near impossible. But in the 1973 war (Yom Kippur war), the Egyptian army overran it in less than two hours due to the element of surprise and overwhelming fire power.

The engineering and the military tactics used on that day were pure genius.

At the Bar-Lev Line, there was a dedicated guide that explained to us the technical details related to this war. We moved all around the place, and he guided us step-by-step as to what happened on that momentous day and how this amazing victory was secured.

Alas, I cannot share these explanations with you, for I am “militarily challenged” and was only able to partially follow the narration of this able young (he was born after this war) guide.

I believe that this guide sensed that I was caught between two strong sentiments: The fact that Israel has stood at the edge of the abyss, and the near victory of Egypt which led to peace between these long-time enemies.

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