Sherif Gaber, a blogger in hiding from Egyptian police, has created a paean to Israel that is so good, it puts most of Israeli hasbarah (public relations) to shame.
The video, embedded above, makes a mockery of Arab states that seek to destroy Israel, compares the Jewish state's achievements with those of its Muslim neighbors and advocates for the Jews' right to the land of Israel, even if not through Biblical reasoning.
Gaber was sentenced in February to one-year in prison for “insulting Islam and promoting atheism,” by a criminal court in the northeastern city of Ismailiya, where Gaber studies literature at university.
According to Middle East Eye, Gaber was studying at Suez Canal University in 2013 when teachers and fellow students reported him for supporting atheism online, supposedly by running a Facebook page called “The Atheists.”
On 27 October 2013, Gaber was arrested. At 3 a.m., a security convoy turned up on his street.
“[I couldn’t believe] the strength of the security … three armored cars and an army vehicle surrounded my house. I said there must be another Osama bin Laden living in the same [apartment block],” he joked. “I didn’t know I was that dangerous.”
Middle East Eye quoted Gaber as saying he was tortured in custody. “I don’t want to go into the details … but you can say that the basic stuff happened to me,” he said, remembering the moment a hood was shoved over his eyes. “They shocked me with electricity, punished every part of me. They wanted to know who was giving me money to be an atheist and criticize Islam.”
After being handed a suspended sentence, Gaber was released on bail pending a retrial. But instead of paying a 1,000-Egyptian-pound ($131) bail fee that would set a date for retrial, he went into hiding.
He has kept in touch with Middle East Eye since then. The website reported that Gaber, “who became estranged from his family after the news hit the community, doesn’t know whether to run or remain in hiding. He has explored the possibility of applying for political asylum outside Egypt, where his beliefs can put him not only at risk of persecution from the government, but also from a society increasingly intolerant of suspected non-believers.”