A senior official from the Muslim Brotherhood has prompted a response from Israel’s Channel 10 after he said earlier this week Jews should return to Egypt.
Essam el-Erian, an advisor to the Egyptian president, was quoted as having said during an interview with the local Dream TV network on Thursday: "It is better for Jews to live in a country like Egypt rather than in a country contaminated by occupation."
He added that Jews should return to Egypt to "make way for the Palestinian people" and said, "Every Egyptian has the right to come back to Egypt, no matter what his religion.
“Egyptian Jews should refuse to live under a brutal, bloody and racist occupation stained with war crimes against humanity,” Erian said.
Meanwhile, the Israeli television channel, which reported the news, expressed content at Erian’s comments.
“After thousands of years since Egyptian Jews left Egypt, finally someone has called for their return,” the channel said, according to a report from the Egyptian Al-Wafd newspaper.
But according to the Channel 10 report, Erian's remarks were criticized by Egyptian users on social media networks, who called Erian "an agent of Israel and America" and accused him of treason.
In recent months, Muslim Brotherhood members and Egyptian clerics have not held back on comments regarding Israel and Jews since their rise to political prominence this year.
Before the group’s presidential candidate Mohammed Mursi assumed office earlier in the year, prominent Egyptian cleric Safwat Hegazy said if Mursi became president, Egypt’s new capital will no longer be Cairo, but Jerusalem.
“Our capital shall not be Cairo, Mecca or Medina. It shall be Jerusalem with God’s will. Our chants shall be: ‘millions of martyrs will march towards Jerusalem’,” prominent cleric Safwat Hagazy said, according to a video aired by Egypt’s religious Annas TV in June.
But Israeli attacks on Gaza last month showed a more “cooperative” side to relations between Egypt and Israel.
Mursi was described as “a brother, not an enemy of Israel” in a report from Israel-based Haaretz newspaper in November.
The paper mentioned an excerpt from a letter the Egyptian President purportedly sent to the Israeli president. The excerpt read: “Your faithful friend, Mohammed Mursi.”
“If he is battling Hamas, he is a friend. If he is fighting terrorism in Sinai, he is our brother,” a Haaretz columnist wrote.