Egypt is a "strategic partner" for Israel, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said on Thursday, adding that it was the "first neighbouring country to sign a peace agreement with us."
Gantz's remarks, which he posted on his official Twitter account, came in response to recent attacks on Egypt by the Israeli lawmaker Avi Maoz, who described the North African country as an "enemy state."
Gantz added that the Israel-Egypt relationship constituted a "critical contribution to regional stability and Israel's security at all times, especially during times of fighting in the Gaza Strip and against terrorism in the Sinai Peninsula."
"In recent years, we [Israel] have promoted the deepening of the partnership in many other aspects as well," Gantz pointed out, noting that his country was considering Egypt as an "important ally."
"The attempt to portray Egypt as an enemy country by a party that is supposed to join the government coalition, Gantz added, constitutes a factual and strategic mistake, and I call on the upcoming Israeli prime minister to give his statements and condemn this matter."
Gantz criticized Maoz, considering his assumptions about Egypt to be a "factual error and a strategic error."
"I condemn this grave statement, and I also call on the incoming prime minister to weigh in and denounce these statements," he added.