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Jewish Journal

Egypt to strip citizenship from those who marry Israelis

by Brad A. Greenberg

June 8, 2009 | 4:04 am

That photo is for an Egyptian-themed wedding, which I imagine is nothing like an authentic Egyptian wedding. But if you are actually Egyptian, don’t plan on marrying an Israeli—not unless you want to lose your Egyptian citizenship. The explainer:

After the verdict was read in the Cairo courtroom, Nabih al-Wahsh, an Egyptian attorney, jumped for joy and received an avalanche of telephone calls from friends congratulating him on his latest legal victory.

Al-Wahsh has managed to extract a ruling from Egypt’s Administrative Court — which rules in disputes between citizens and the state — that would force the Egyptian government to strip Egyptians married to Israelis of their Egyptian citizenship. The May 19 ruling was met with the cheers of millions in this populous Arab country.

“This is an historic ruling,” al-Wahsh said to reporters after the ruling. “Egyptians married to Israelis are dangerous to Egypt’s national security, acting in ways that contradict the constitution of their country and Islamic laws,” he said.

Calls flooded into TV talk shows discussing the verdict and readers posted comments on Web sites of newspapers that wrote about it.

Everyone appeared united in elation at the ruling, as well as in hatred of the Jewish state and everything that related to it, even if it was originally Egyptian.

“Israel clamors to become an integral part of the Arab world and to do so it lures Egyptians to get married to its women,” one reader wrote to a local newspaper, commenting on the ruling.

A second writer warned against Israeli plans to use Egyptians married to Israelis as spies, while a third said the sons and the daughters of these people would one day claim property in Egypt, something that would “ease Israel’s hegemony over Egypt yet again.”

Such sentiments among a large chunk of Egypt’s population of about 80 million underscores the wide chasm that distinguishes Egypt at the official level and the same country at the level of its public.

Although Egypt was the first country to sign a peace treaty with Israel, almost 30 years ago, its government and its people still walk two different paths.

Rabbi Reuven Firestone certainly experienced that when he visited Egypt two years ago. Read the rest of the story from this week’s Jewish Journal here.

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Since launching the blog in 2007, I’ve referred to myself as “a God-fearing Christian with devilishly good Jewish looks.” The description, I’d say, is an accurate one,...

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