Israel must make overtures to Egyptian presidential candidate Mohamed Morsy and his Muslim Brotherhood party if reports are correct that he won the presidential race, Labor MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer told The Jerusalem Post Monday night.

Ben-Eliezer, a former defense minister, is a close personal friend of deposed Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak. He said he wished Mubarak was still in power but that Israel must face the new reality of the Brotherhood taking charge.

“We have no choice but to find a way to start a dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhood,” he said. “We need to help Morsy understand that it is in Egypt’s interest to maintain peace with us no less than Israelis realize that it is in our interest to maintain peace with them.”

Ben-Eliezer said the protesters who instigated Mubarak’s departure with demonstrations in Cairo’s Tahrir Square wanted dramatic change that had nothing to do with their country’s peace agreement with Israel – but this resulted in a much worse situation for the Jewish state.

“The revolution was not about Israel,” the Labor MK said. “But now Israel has woken up to a different situation than we have had for 30 years: A new Islamic Middle East all around us that hates Israel.”

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Ben-Eliezer said he felt deep personal pain for the ailing Mubarak, who he said served his country well as a great Egyptian patriot. He criticized the international community for taking steps that hastened his departure.

“Mubarak deserves credit for the Middle East being stable for 31 years,” he said. “It was America’s behavior that made him go.”

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