Member of Knesset Binyamin Ben-Eliezer expressed "immense grief" over the conviction of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, who was sentenced to life in prison, saying he was hoping that the court will acquit the ousted ruler.
"I expected the court to show a degree of compassion and mercy toward a man who dedicated his entire life to the security of the Egyptian nation, to its economy and prosperity," he told Ynet shortly after Judge Ahmed Rifaat read out the verdict.
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"This is a very sad day for me. I feel deep regret over what has happened to this man. His blood was let," Ben-Eliezer said, adding that he does not believe the former Egyptian ruler gave the order to open fire at protesters.
"I think (Mubarak) was one of the most important leaders in the region throughout the past 30 years.
Judge Ahmed Rifaat reads out verdict
"He was a true patriot. People didn't know him. When I say patriot, I mean a patriot to his own people- a true nationalist who cared for his nation," Ben-Eliezer said, noting that "Mubarak's contribution to the stability of the Middle East has been significant. The world, as well as the United States, owes him a lot for what he has done.
"He was the one to develop an interesting relationship with Israel; he saw Israel as an important pillar in the maintenance of Egyptian stability and economy. He also regarded peace as a strategic asset. If I were to judge him by his actions, he was one of the greatest leadership tycoons, if not the greatest."
Gamal Mubarak. Acquitted of all charges. (Photo: Reuters)
Ben-Eliezer has claimed in the past that Israel should be concerned about the post-Mubarak era in Egypt. Today, in the midst of an election campaign, he still believes that Israel has a lot to worry about.
"The new era will be completely different. This is an era in which three quarters of the Egyptian parliament members are from the Muslim Brotherhood, and any elected president would have to abide by their wishes."
On Saturday, an Egyptian court sentenced Mubarak to life imprisonment for his complicity in the killings of protesters during the January 2011 uprising in the country.
His sons, Gamal and Alaa, were acquitted of all charges.
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