During an interview with private Egyptian television channel ONTV, the deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, Erian, attempted to explain a previous controversial announcement he had made.
In the statement he invited Egypt-born Jews to their home country, encouraging them to leave Israel to the Palestinians.
Erian said: the “ideology of Zionism” had ended in failure and “Palestine’s occupiers” should leave to make way for the return of the Palestinians.
“Jewish occupiers of the territory of historic Palestine are an obstacle to the Palestinians’ right of return”, he said. “Anyone who can read the future can see that this project has a decade, less than a decade to go, and it is our faith that the people of Palestine can then return to Palestine”.
All but a handful of the Egyptian Jewish community, once 80,000-strong, left the country after the Israel-Egypt wars of 1948, 1956 and 1967, many to Israel, notes the Telegraph newspaper.
Erian’s latest comments have alarmed Israel, with the official Israel Radio station expressing “disappointment”.
According to Egypt’s private-owned newspaper “Youm 7”, Israel Radio blasted Erian, saying Israel has never questioned the legitimacy of the Egyptian state, and expects to be treated equally by Egypt, with which it has a peace treaty.
The backlash from Israel Radio was an altogether different response from other Israeli media outlets.
Earlier this week Israel’s Channel 10 welcomed Erian’s remarks inviting Jews to return to Egypt.
“After thousands of years since Egyptian Jews left Egypt, finally someone has called for their return”, the channel said, according to the Egyptian Al-Wafd newspaper.
“It is better for Jews to live in a country like Egypt rather than in a country contaminated by occupation,” Erian was quoted as saying in an interview with the local Dream TV network on Thursday.
He added that, “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 added.