In Israel, A Growing Sense Of Isolation Israel has never had many friends in the Middle East, and now it is facing serious problems with traditional partners like Turkey and Egypt. A Palestinian bid for statehood at the U.N. next week is expected to add to Israel's sense of isolation in the region.
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Changing Middle East Leaves Israel Feeling Isolated

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Changing Middle East Leaves Israel Feeling Isolated

Changing Middle East Leaves Israel Feeling Isolated

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MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports from Jerusalem.

LOURDES GARCIA: All your receipts, all your notepads, everything have the picture of Erdogan on them.

ABDUL RAHMAN MARRA: (Foreign language spoken)

GARCIA: The scene couldn't be more different in Israel's economic capital, Tel Aviv. The restaurant called Istanbul, which serves, unsurprisingly, Turkish food, is empty, even though it's lunchtime.

ADI MANN: (Foreign language spoken)

GARCIA: But it's not only problems with Turkey these days. In Cairo, a mob ransacked the Israeli embassy, causing Israel's ambassador and staff to be evacuated from the country. And this week, Israel's diplomatic staff in Jordan were recalled as a precautionary measure because of planned protests there.

ALON LIEL: The whole region is rejecting us. It's like a body rejecting a transplant, the world cannot ignore it, the world is worried.

GARCIA: Alon Liel is a former Israeli diplomat and an expert on Turkey.

LIEL: Ten years ago we had relations with nine Muslim countries. The Moroccans were here, the Tunisians were here, Qatar, Oman, Mauritania - they're all gone. We stayed with the three that are now dropping us: Turkey, Egypt and Jordan. So we never had such a crisis. We never had such an extent of isolation in the Middle East since Israel was founded.

GARCIA: Yitzhak Levanon is Israel's ambassador to Egypt, though he now finds himself back in Tel Aviv. He says Israel is trying to understand what's happening.

YITZHAK LEVANON: Everything is challenging, you know, life there, the situation, the changes. Look, we have to bear in mind that, you know, after the revolution we are witnessing the emergence of a new Egypt, something completely different than before. And this by itself it's something which is extremely challenging.

GARCIA: And it's not just Egypt, everything in the region is in flux.

LEVANON: We are watching very closely the situation because nobody knows at this stage what will be the latest configuration of the future Middle East.

GARCIA: Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, NPR News, Jerusalem.

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