Egypt’s hopeful presidential candidates have strongly criticized Israel in a television debate, calling Israel as an enemy to the Egyptian nation.
"Israel is an enemy, an entity established on occupying the land and threatening our security,” former leading member of Muslim Brotherhood Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh said on Thursday.
"An entity that has 200 nuclear warheads, has a vast amount of reinforcements on the pretext of security, an entity that stands against international resolutions and rejects the return of the Palestinian people's rights," he was quoted as saying by AP.
Former Foreign Minister and Arab League chief Amr Moussa also expressed similar views about Tel Aviv.
"Most of our people consider it [Israel] an enemy, most of our people don't agree with it and don't trust the peace with it. This is true," Moussa said.
The debate was a new experiment for Egypt after nearly 30 years of dictatorship under Hosni Mubarak, deposed in last year’s revolution.
Moussa served as Mubarak's foreign minister for 10 years until becoming head of the Arab League in 2001.
Aboul Fotouh is portrayed as an Islamic figure and expected to garner a large number of votes in the presidential election given the disqualification of the Muslim Brotherhood's top choice for president Khairat al-Shater and that of leading Salafi figure Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, who both enjoyed popular support.
The two voting front-runners are among 13 candidates competing in the election, due to begin on May 23.