CAIRO (AFP) – A Cairo court on Saturday upheld a ruling to strip Egyptian men married to Israeli women of their citizenship in a case that has highlighted national sentiment towards Israel.
Judge Mohammed al-Husseini, sitting on the Supreme Administrative Court, said the interior ministry must ask the cabinet to take the necessary steps to strip Egyptian men married to Israeli women, and their children, of their citizenship.
The court said that each case should be considered separately, in a ruling that cannot be appealed.
The ruling reflects Egyptian sentiment towards Israel, more than 30 years after Egypt signed an unpopular peace deal with the Jewish state.
Before reading the verdict, Husseini said the case would not apply to Egyptian men married to Arab Israeli women.
“The case for (Egyptian) men married to Israeli Arab women is different to those married to Israeli women of Jewish origin because (Israeli Arabs) have lived under Israeli occupation,” Husseini told the court.
“The court’s decision is taking into account Egypt’s national security,” the judge said.
Lawyer Nabil al-Wahsh said he originally brought the case to court in order to prevent the creation of a generation “disloyal to Egypt and the Arab world.”
Children of such marriages “should not be allowed to perform their military service,” he said.
The number of Egyptian men married to Israeli women is thought to be around 30,000, according to Wahsh. Only 10 percent of them are married to Arab Israelis.
“This ruling is for the benefit of Egypt, a nation of leadership, history and civilisation,” Wahsh said. “It is for the protection of Egypt and Egypt’s youth and its national security.”
“The decision comes as Israel continues its assault on those who love peace. The latest example is the aggression against the aid boat which was heading towards the blockaded Gaza Strip,” he added.
On Monday, Israeli naval commandos raided a humanitarian flotilla carrying aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip, in a bungled operation that left nine pro-Palestinian activists dead and scores injured.
A lower court ruled last year that the interior minister must look into the cases of Egyptian men married to Israeli women, and their children, in order to “take the necessary steps to strip them of their nationality.”
The interior and foreign ministries had appealed the case, saying it was for parliament to decide on such matters.
Thousands of Egyptians, particularly a large number who lived in Iraq and returned after the 1990 Gulf War over Kuwait, moved to Israel in search of work and married Israeli women.
In 1979, Egypt became the first Arab country to sign a peace deal with Israel.