Tawfik Okasha, an Egyptian congressman, was attacked in parliament on Sunday by a colleague who hurled a shoe at him while others, preferring the use of words, demanded that he be suspended for the crime of having invited Israel’s ambassador for dinner.
Egypt was the first Arab nation to recognize Israel, in a 1979 peace accord that was supported by US President Jimmy Carter, but Egyptian attitudes to the country’s neighbor remain extremely hostile.
Okasha is a television host and politician known for courting controversy. He hosted Israeli ambassador Haim Koren for dinner at his home in the northeastern Dakahlia province last week, issuing the invitation live on his TV show.
The offer of dinner sparked outrage in Egypt’s media and in political circles with numerous lawmakers demanding Okasha be dismissed from parliament and one colleague, Kamal Ahmed, throwing his shoe at him.
The house speaker threw both Ahmed and Okasha out of the session, according to Egypt’s parliamentary website.
Koren said that he and his staff enjoyed a 3 hour meal at the Egyptian’s home, in which “ideas of us helping Egypt in the areas of water, agriculture and education – to try to set up a number of schools with Israeli training,” were discussed.