As Israel faces what many fear could turn into its most serious national security threat in decades, fault lines are widening over how it should respond and some critics say the government appears ill prepared.
With the resignation Friday of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who was widely seen as Israel's most predictable Arab ally, a quiet panic is spreading here as Israelis debate their next move.
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"This whole situation is making Israel's hawks more hawkish and the doves more dovish," said Yossi Alpher, a former government peace talks advisor and co-editor of Bitterlemons.org, a Mideast political research firm.
Critics say Israel's leaders have so far seemed surprisingly unprepared to react to leadership change in Egypt, whose landmark 1979 peace treaty with Israel has long been a cornerstone of Israel's stability.
Even as late as Thursday, many Israeli officials were still confidently predicting that Mubarak would survive until at least September. An Israeli lawmaker telephoned Mubarak on Thursday afternoon to offer words of encouragement.
"They allowed themselves to go into denial," said Daniel Levy, a former Israeli Justice Ministry advisor who is now a senior fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington. "Now they've got no strategy and their options just narrowed."
No strategy, and more importantly, no real contacts. As strong as Israel is, like the United States, they don't really have any leverage right now, short of military action, which would be unacceptable. It would of course be very advisable to continue the terms of the Egyptian-Israeli peace deal, but you know what? There's new management, and that deal is more than 30 years old.
Somehow I'm betting Egypt has new terms.