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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Egyptian TV host says pro-Israel statements in "Candid Camera" show

Remember the Egyptian "Candid Camera" show where celebrities were told they were on a German TV station and they became violent when they were told it was really an Israeli interview show? And how the hosts of the show would compliment them on their "patriotism?"

Well, one victim of the prank acted in a decidedly different way, and Egypt is in an uproar.

Tawfiq Okasha, who has an anti-government satellite TV station (which was closed last week by the government) was ambushed on this show as well, but when he was asked about his opinions of Israel, his answers were quite different from the usual victims.

As the fake interview questions went to the topic of Israel, Okasha said that he has visited Israel four times.He said that Jews have the right to live in Israel, including Jerusalem - and that those rights are given in the Koran. He said he is friends with a number of "Arab Jews" living in Israel. He said that he is in favor of Egypt exporting natural gas to Israel.

He also said that the Koran borrowed heavily from the Torah and the New Testament.

When told that the TV station is really "Israeli" and not German, instead of being angry he answered that he did not mind at all and that he hoped his opinions would reach all Israelis.

It does not appear that the episode of the ambush show ever aired, but it was shown Friday on Egyptian channel 25 - together with dramatic repetitions of his most pro-Israel statements - and the Egyptians are freaking out. There are multiple news stories about this and the YouTube video already has hundreds of thousands of views.

The talkbacks are universally angry at Okasha, saying he must be jailed or worse.

I don't know whether Egypt's channel 25 is a government TV station; if so it seems entirely possible that this was aired to provide cover for Egypt's closing of his TV station last week.

I'm sure MEMRI will have a translation of this interview very soon. But as far as I can tell, Okasha wasn't praised at the end of this show the way the other victims who showed such hatred towards Jews and Israel were.