Essam El-Erian
Essam El-Erian Reuters

An advisor to Egypt's Islamist president has caused an uproar by saying Jews should return to Egypt, Channel 10 News reports.

Essam el-Erian, a senior official in the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and a close associate of President Mohammed Morsi, was quoted as having said during an interview with the local Dream TV network, "It is better for Jews to live in a country like Egypt rather than in a country contaminated by occupation."

El-Erian added that the Jews should return immediately 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."

Channel 10 reported that Egyptian newspapers were outraged by El-Arian's words. Christian journalist Hamdi Qandil wrote in his Twitter account: "Sir, Dr. Essam, do you really think that Jews will respond to your invitation?"

According to the report, El-Arian's remarks were also decried by Egyptian users on Facebook, who called El-Arian "an agent of Israel and America" and accused him of treason.

Morsi himself has not yet responded to the media storm triggered by his advisor's remarks.

Egypt's president has repeatedly said he would continue to maintain the peace with Israel and uphold international documents signed by prior Cairo administrations, despite opposition from his Muslim Brotherhood backers, who have called for a jihad (holy war) to "liberate" Jerusalem.

At the same time, Egypt rejected several months ago an Israeli request to upgrade the relations between the countries.

On the first day of Israel's Operation Pillar of Defense, Morsi recalled the Egyptian ambassador to Israel,  in protest over Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)