Is the Marriage Between Israel and Egypt Over?

Published: June 9th 2010
in News » World

Egypt's supreme administrative court
Pic: wikimedia commons

Egyptian men married to Israeli women are now facing the stripping of their Egyptian citizenship along with that of their children, according to an Egyptian supreme administrative court ruling made Saturday in the capital of Cairo.


After the tragic flotilla crisis last week caused an uproar of animosity towards Israel worldwide, Egypt, the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel, is now ruling in court against an Egyptian man’s right to citizenship due to “disloyal” ties to Israel.


Last year, the Interior Ministry of Egypt refused such an appeal that was proposed by a lower court on account of the 1976 bill of citizenship law. This bill, published three years prior to the peace treaty with Israel, states that citizenship should be revoked for Egyptians who married Israelis and served in the army or who embrace Zionism as an ideology, according to Associated Press.


This new decision reflects the reactions towards Israel following the raids in the flotilla crisis last week. Nabil al-Wahsh, attorney and submitter of the court appeal said, “There should not be a new generation disloyal to Egypt and the Arab world.”


The court’s ruling distinguished between the marriage of an Israeli Arab and an Israeli Jew when making the decision to revoke Egyptian citizenship from the husbands and children of Israeli women. According to Ynet News, the reason for the court ruling not applying to the marriage of Israeli Arab women is due to the belief that “the Arabs of 1948 living within the Green Line are Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.” The court further noted that the removal of citizenship will not be done automatically but rather each individual case will be stipulated by the court.


It has been estimated that approximately 30,000 Egyptian men are married to Israeli women. Many Egyptians moved from Iraq to Israel in search of work as a result of the Gulf War of 1990 and married Israeli women. The implementation of the court ruling to investigate each individual case, to ensure personal freedoms and national security are brought to consideration, will have to individually study each marriage; a task that seems to be nothing short of daunting.


Wahsh, however, describes the importance of the court’s ruling as being one of national security and a preservation of national Egyptian youth. He said, "The importance of this ruling is in creating a separation fence between Egyptian and Israeli youth, especially during a period when Israel continues to attack the peace-lovers in the world, such as in the recent attack on the aid boat from the peace flotilla en route to the besieged residents of Gaza."


Negad al-Borai, an Egyptian lawyer and a human rights activist, told Reuters that "Egyptian law says citizenship can only be revoked if the citizen is proven to be spying on his country, and this verdict considers marrying an Israeli an act of spying." This was one of the arguments of Egyptian lawyers who proposed the appeal from a lower court last year.


Egyptians of high social standing, including Mohammed Sayyed Tantawi, the late Grand Sheik of Cairo's Al-Azhar, the oldest Egyptian university, have been reported saying that marriage between an Egyptian man and an Israeli woman is not forbidden under any religious code but that the government has the right to strip a man of his citizenship for marrying a woman from "an enemy state."

Related articles: (Egypt, marriage, Iraq, peace treaty, Cairo)
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