A new Egyptian TV series that depicts a future in which Israel is destroyed by Arab nations in a war has been condemned by the Jewish state.
In a statement, citing its relationship with Egypt, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said the series "is completely unacceptable especially because the two states have had a peace treaty for the past 41 years".
Egyptian show depicts Israel's destruction
The science fiction television drama is set in the year 2120 and predicts the Jewish state's destruction at the hands of the Arab states in a fictional war, as well as the breakup of the United States.
The first episode of the Ramadan special drama titled "El Nehayeh" or "The End" in English, was aired last week on a private television channel in Egypt called ON.
The sci-fi show is about a computer engineer, played by Egyptian actor Ahmed El Sherif, who lives in dystopian future dominated by cyborg clones. The first episode was also initially posted on YouTube but has since been removed.
First Episode - The war to Liberate Israel
The show's first episode features a scene set in the year 2120 where children in a classroom are learning about what their teacher calls "the war to liberate Jerusalem," which the teacher says occurred less than 100 years after Israel's founding in 1948.
In the episode the teacher speaking Arabic says "America was the central supporter of the Zionist state," just as a holographic map of the US appears in front of the students in the class.
"When the time came for the Arab states to get rid of their sworn enemy, a war broke out that was named the war to liberate Jerusalem," he says.
The teacher adds that "the war ended quickly and brought about the destruction of the Zionist State of Israel less than 100 years after its establishment."
According to the teacher, the Jews in Israel "ran away and returned to their countries of origin in Europe."
What happened to the Mizrahi Jews?
However, the teacher doesn't mention what happened to the Jews in Israel whose families came from other countries in the Middle East. Most of the Jews in Israel are 'Mizrahi' Jews, meaning that their ancestors were of Middle Eastern or North African origin and not European.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry took offence to the show's content saying that it was "unfortunate and totally unacceptable," especially considering its 41-year peaceful relationship with Egypt.
There was no immediate comment from the Egyptian government on the matter.
Television dramas that premier during the month of Ramadan in Egypt which began on Friday, April 24, typically air one episode per night throughout the holy month and tend to enjoy high ratings and are largely believed to be culturally influential.
Show's writer defends premise
The show's writer, Amr Samir Atif, justified the show's premise in which the destruction of Israel "is a possible future in the absence of real peace and true stability in the region.. Peace should be based on justice," an AP reported quoted him as saying.
The show "El Nehayeh" was authorised by the Egyptian government's television censor and is produced by Egypt's largest production company called Synergy which is also said to have strong links with the government of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
Both Israel and Egypt share a good relationship. The two countries have worked closely on security issues since the 1979 treaty, especially near their shared border areas in the Sinai Peninsula in a shared effort against Islamic jihadists.
However, public opinion in Egypt has remained majorly against normal relations with Israel. But this doesn't seem to reflect in President El Sisi-led government's relationship with Israel. In recent times, Israeli officials have publicly praised security cooperation with the Egyptian government.
Sisi has reportedly met Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at least twice since taking office in 2014.
Turkish show portrayed Israel in bad light
According to a report in the Jerusalem Post, a similar incident took place in 2010 when the then deputy foreign minister of Israel, Danny Ayalon, asked the Turkish ambassador to register a complaint against a Turkish TV show which showed Jewish intelligence agents (Mossad) kidnapping babies.
Ayalon had said that the show's depiction was "intolerable" and that it endangered the Jewish community, Israeli envoys and tourists in Turkey.
The former Israeli minister had even seated the Turkish ambassador to Israel at the time on a lower chair than his own in a televised footage, in an act that was seen as an attempt to humiliate the ambassador for his country's portrayal of Israel.