Egyptian MP proposes parliamentary delegation to visit Israel's Knesset

Sayyid Faraj, an Egyptian member of parliament, has suggested that a formal delegation of the Egyptian parliament visit Israel's Knesset to "learn from Israel's economic development."

March 23, 2016 15:22
1 minute read.
Taba crossing

An Egyptian soldier stands near the Egyptian national flag and the Israeli flag at the Taba crossing between Egypt and Israel. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Shortly after the ouster of an Egyptian MP from parliament for meeting with Israel's ambassador, another Egytian lawmaker may find himself in similar trouble for promoting normalization with Israel.

Sayyid Faraj, an Egyptian member of parliament, has suggested that a formal delegation of the Egyptian parliament visit Israel's Knesset

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In a conversation with the Egyptian news agency ONA on Tuesday, Faraj proposed his initiative of dispatching a delegation of 10 lawmakers to visit the Knesset to discuss "Israeli-Egyptian relations, learn from Israel's economic development and in general learn from Israel's experience."

Faraj emphasized that the delegation's sole purpose is to harness Israeli knowledge in different fields for the benefit of Egypt's development.

"I do not oppose normalization of relations with Israel, and we must communicate with Israelis," Faraj stated.

Faraj's remarks aroused a furious response in the Egyptian Parliament. His colleague, MP Tarek Elawady, called on the residents of Faraj's constituiency, Hadaiq al-Qubbah, to sign a petition demanding that the parliament censure him with a vote of non-confidence.

At the beginning of the month, Egyptian Member of Parliament Tawfik Okasha was ousted from his position for meeting with the Israeli ambassador.

465 out of the 595 representatives voted in favor of his removal from office on the grounds that his meeting with Israeli ambassador Haim Koren damaged relations with neighboring nations and that it infringed upon the established parliamentary policy which opposes normalization of relations with Israel.

The vote came three days after Okasha was accosted in parliament when another lawmaker hurled a shoe at him and demanded he be suspended from parliament for his misconduct.

Okasha sparked controversy in Egypt when he extended an invitation to the Israeli ambassador during his TV show "Egypt Today." He announced in the broadcast: "I have personally invited the Israeli ambassador to Cairo, Haim Koren, to a dinner at my house next week to discuss the Nile dispute and other important issues."

Among the reasons for removing Okasha from parliament were that he "had lost the trust of the Egyptians and especially the trust of his voters and that his act showed disrespect for the blood of Egyptian and Arab martyrs."

Reuters contributed to this report.

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