More than 2,000 Israeli Arabs demonstrated on Saturday in support of Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, with speakers calling his ouster a coup and accusing Israel of playing a part in his downfall.
The main speaker at the rally, in the Galilee town of Kafr Kanna, was Raed Saleh, the radical head of one of the country’s strongest Islamist movements. Saleh, head of the hard-line Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, charged that Morsi had been ousted as part of “plots” hatched in America, Israel and Iran.
“Ya Morsi, you are the president,” participants shouted during a protest march. They waved flags of the Muslim Brotherhood, Palestinian flags, and even Syrian rebel flags, and carried posters featuring Morsi. Participants denounced Egypt’s military chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi for overseeing the ouster of Morsi, who was elected last year and thrown out two weeks ago.
Salah also urged Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood to “cross the borders” into Israel and “liberate” Jerusalem and the al-Aqsa mosque from Israeli occupation.
Saleh has been arrested by Israel several times and recently successfully fought a deportation order from Britain while there on a speaking tour. The arrests have served to bolster his popular image among Arabs in Israel.