Jewish Journal

Egyptian court upholds stripping citizenship for marrying Israeli

by Brad A. Greenberg

June 6, 2010 | 12:28 pm

You might recall this post from last June about Egypt’s plan to strip citizenship from any Egyptian who married an Israeli. That effort is one step closer to fruition after an appellate court upheld the ruling to strip citizenship:

In upholding last year’s lower court ruling, the appeals court said Saturday that the Interior Ministry should present each marriage case to the Cabinet on an individual basis. The Cabinet will then rule on whether to strip the Egyptian of his citizenship.

The court also said officials should take into consideration whether a man married an Israeli Arab or a Jew when making its decision to revoke citizenship.

Saturday’s decision, which cannot be appealed, comes more than year after a lower court ruled that the Interior Ministry, which deals with citizenship documents, must implement the 1976 article of the citizenship law. That bill revokes citizenship of Egyptians who married Israelis who have served in the army or embrace Zionism as an ideology. The Interior Ministry appealed that ruling.

The lawyer who brought the original suit to court, Nabih el-Wahsh, celebrated Saturday’s ruling, saying it “is aimed at protecting Egyptian youth and Egypt’s national security.”

Suffice to say, that line of reasoning would not stand the test of scrutiny that an American court would apply. But, then again, Egypt is more a pseudo-democracy than a bastion of civil liberties.

It appears the decision applies equally to Israeli Arabs and Jews, so religion is not the deciding factor. Bad blood between two neighbors in a tense truce is.

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