Stung soundly by the turn of events in Egypt, where it lost one of a few friendly governments in the region, Israel has swung back into action by calling for a ban on the Muslim Brotherhood.

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon suggested yesterday that the Muslim Brotherhood should be banned from running in Egyptian elections because it is an extremist organization, AP has reported.

Ayalon said the Brotherhood, which is one of the strongest opposition forces in Egypt, should be prevented from participating in Egyptian elections as it is an extremist organization.

The Brotherhood was banned during the reign of ousted leader Hosni Mubarak but it actively took part in efforts to dethrone him once popular protests flared across Egypt.

Ayalon said it's normal for democracies to ban extremist parties, noting that Israel itself banned an anti-Arab party in the past, according to the report.

The Brotherhood termed the Israeli minister's stance as a blatant and clear event of interference in Egypt's foreign affairs.

Israel has always fretted over the post-Mubarak Egyptian political landscape as it feared radical forces could gain sway in what used to be a moderate regime.

Last month, Israel's Maariv newspaper cited a Gallup poll that showed that as much as 64 per cent of Egyptians wanted their country to adopt Islamic law. Other newspapers also warned that the rise of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt will hurt Israel's security. If the Muslim Brotherhood grabs the reins … the impact on Israel will be immediate, wrote the Jerusalem Post.

Large constituencies in Egypt have demanded the withdrawal of diplomatic relations with Israel and even arming the Hamas, Robert Fisk had written in The Independent.