Gaza War Has Buoyed Egypt’s Leader Ahead of Presidential Vote

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt woke up on Oct. 7 remarkably unpopular for someone considered a shoo-in for a third term in office — guaranteed by his authoritarian grip on the country to dominate elections that begin on Sunday, but badly damaged by a slow-motion economic collapse.

The ensuing weeks have eclipsed all of that, with war displacing financial worries as the top item on many Egyptians’ minds, lips and social media feeds. For Western partners and Persian Gulf backers, the crisis has also highlighted Egypt’s vital role as a conduit for humanitarian aid to Gaza and a mediator between Israel and Hamas, the armed Palestinian group that led the attack on Israel on Oct. 7 and set off the war.

Mr. el-Sisi, a former general with a knack for outlasting setbacks, appeared to have caught yet another break, one that has allowed him to position himself as a champion of the Palestinian cause at home and an indispensable regional leader abroad.

In Cairo these days, a widespread boycott of Western companies associated with support for Israel has transformed the simple act of serving a Pepsi into a serious faux pas. Egyptians struggling to cover the basics after nearly two years of record-setting inflation have opened their wallets to help victims of the Gaza war.

And in a country where protests have been banned for years, hundreds of people have braved arrest to march in solidarity with the Palestinians.

An aid convoy entering the Gaza Strip from Egypt in October through the Rafah border crossing. Mr. el-Sisi has harnessed Egyptians’ fury and grief over the war to his benefit.Credit…Samar Abu Elouf for The New York Times

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