Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said, Thursday, that Egypt is a strategic partner of Israel, denouncing a right-wing party’s objection to erecting monuments to Egyptian soldiers killed in the 1967 war.
This came during tweets that Gantz posted on Twitter in Arabic, Hebrew and English.
“Egypt is a strategic partner of Israel, and it is the first of the neighboring countries to conclude a peace agreement with us,” Gantz said.
And he added, “Our relations with it are of great importance to the stability of the region and to the security of Israel at all times, especially in times of war with the Gaza Strip and in the face of terrorism in Sinai.”
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He added, “Over recent years, we have promoted the expansion of the partnership to include many other aspects.”
Gantz considered Egypt one of Israel’s most important allies, and said that trying to portray it as an enemy country from a party that is supposed to join the government coalition constitutes a “factual and strategic mistake.”
According to the official Israeli Broadcasting Corporation, the far-right “Noam” party (which has one seat in the Knesset) announced its opposition to Israel’s intention to erect a memorial to Egyptian soldiers killed in the 1967 war.
“I condemn this dangerous statement (from Noam’s party), and I call on the next prime minister to make his statement and condemn this matter,” Gantz said.
The “Noam” party will be a partner in the right-wing government that Benjamin Netanyahu is forming.
In the 1967 war, Israel defeated the Arab armies and occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip (which was under Egyptian control), the Sinai Peninsula, and the Syrian Golan Heights.
The Egyptian authorities did not comment on the right-wing party’s statements or Gantz’s response until the news was published.
And last November, Israel expressed its intention to establish an official memorial on its territory for the Egyptian commandos who were killed near Kibbutz Nahshon (West Jerusalem) in the 1967 war.
The Israeli Broadcasting Authority said that the construction of the monument “is being considered following the Egyptians’ anger towards Israel, after several media outlets published information in July that Egyptian soldiers were buried in a mass grave, and that this had been kept secret for decades.”
At that time, Egypt asked Israel for information about this mass grave, while Tel Aviv’s response was that it would “consider this issue with great respect.”