Essam el-Erian, the adviser to Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi who last week called on Jews of Egyptian origin to leave Israel and reclaim their properties back home in order to make room for Palestinian refugees, resigned from his position on Monday.
The Islamic Jihad movement urged Erian, who also serves as vice chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), to resign from his role as presidential advisor and to apologize to the Egyptian people for his comments.
It was not clear whether pressure over his comments regarding Jews in Israel had anything to do with Erian's resignation. On his Facebook page on Monday, he said the decision was based on an apparent "conflict of interest" following his appointment as the leader of the FJP bloc in Egypt's Shura Council (the upper house of parliament), Egypt's Al-Ahram newspaper reported.
"I decided to relinquish my position in the president's advisory council since I'm occupied now with my work as head of the FJP bloc in the Shura Council," Erian was quoted by Al-Ahram as saying.
"I cannot hold both positions after the approval of the new constitution, as there would be a conflict of interest between a position in the executive authority and another in the legislative authority," he added.
In addition to calling on Jews to leave Israel to make way for Palestinians, Erian said in his interview with Al-Sharq Al-Awsat last week that, "Anyone who can read the future can see that this project has a decade, less than a decade to go, and it is our faith that the people of Palestine can then return to Palestine."
Meanwhile, Morsi swore in 10 new ministers on Sunday in a Cabinet shake-up aimed at improving the government's handling of the country's ailing economy ahead of talks this week with the International Monetary Fund over a badly needed $4.8 billion loan.
The reshuffle, which Morsi had promised in response to public anger over Egypt's economic malaise, affected two key ministries, the interior and finance. It also solidified Islamist control of the government, putting three portfolios in the hands of members of the president's Muslim Brotherhood.
Three of the new ministers are from the Brotherhood, according to the spokesman for the group's Freedom and Justice Party, Ahmed Subaie. They are taking over the ministries of transportation, local development and supply and interior trade, giving the Brotherhood a total of eight Cabinet posts.
Also included in the reshuffle were the ministries of civil aviation, environment, electricity, communication and parliamentary affairs.
Karim Ennarah, a researcher on police and security reforms at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, said the previous interior minister, Ahmed Gamal Eddin, was likely replaced because Brotherhood leaders were upset with the police's handling of attacks against the group's offices and supporters during clashes with the opposition last month over the constitution.
"It seems like it is a clash of egos. It's obviously not a reform of any kind," Ennarah said.
With the new Cabinet set, Kandil told reporters he will meet with IMF officials Monday "to reassure them about Egypt's situation and economic recovery in the coming period."
In an interview with CNN on Sunday, Morsi rejected criticism over his decision to give three portfolios to ministers from the Muslim Brotherhood. He said their appointment was intended to strengthen the Islamic regime.
During the interview, Morsi also said that Egypt supported calls by the Syrian people for President Bashar al-Assad to be tried for war crimes. He repeated his calls for the Syrian president to step down, saying, "We support the Syrian people, and they're going to win, and they have the will to win."