Egypt men married to Israelis risk citizenship

Court to rule if they should be stripped of nationality


A court in Egypt is to rule next month on whether Egyptian men married to Israeli women are to be stripped of their citizenship, a judicial source told AFP on Tuesday.

"The High Administrative Court will issue its verdict in June," the source said, in a case that highlights Egyptian sentiment towards Israel, more than 30 years after an unpopular peace deal was signed with the Jewish state.

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 appealed the case, saying it was for parliament to decide on such matters.

Nabil al-Wahsh, the lawyer who took the case to court in the first place, told AFP that "Egyptian nationality law warns against marriage to anyone characterized as Zionist."

He said authorities refused to provide the exact number of Egyptian men married to Israeli women, but according to him the number is thought to be around 30,000.

"The majority are married to Israelis considered Zionist, and only 10 percent are married to Arab Israelis," Wahsh said.

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.