Daily Israel Report

Egypt May Strip Citizenship from Intermarried Couples

Egyptian High Court is considering a move to strip citizenship from men who marry Israeli women, despite its peace treaty with Israel.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 5/20/2010, 10:00 AM / Last Update: 5/20/2010, 10:12 AM

Flash 90

The Egyptian High Court is considering a move to strip citizenship from men who marry Israeli women, despite its 30-year-old peace treaty with Israel.

The issue began with attorney Nabil al-Wahsh, who filed a lawsuit in an Egyptian lower court last year on the grounds that “Egyptian nationality law warns against marriage to anyone characterized as Zionist.” Thousands of Egyptians, including many who lived in Iraq and returned after the 1990 Gulf War, moved to Israel in search of work and married Israeli women.

The court ruled that the Interior Ministry must investigate cases in which Egyptian men were married to Israeli women, and the status of their children. The court directed the ministry to 'take the necessary steps to strip them of their nationality,' reported the news service.

The Interior and Foreign Ministries appealed the case, according to the report, saying the issue was a legislative point that should be decided by the country's parliament, and not the courts. Next month the High Court will rule on the case.

Al-Wahsh told AFP that although he was unable to obtain official census data on the number of Egyptian men married to Israeli women, he believes the number is approximately 30,000. “Only 10 percent are married to Arab Israelis,' he added, claiming “the majority are married to Israelis considered Zionist.”