CAIRO: Human rights activists criticized Sunday a court order against Egyptians married to Israeli women.
The Supreme Administrative Court upheld Saturday a ruling which orders the Ministry of Interior to propose to Cabinet on a case-by-case basis that Egyptian men married to Israeli women be stripped of their 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.
Lawyer Nabeeh El-Wahsh, who filed the lawsuit against the Minister of Interior, said that the ruling is for the benefit of Egypt’s “national security,” aiming to “protect Egyptian youth.”
However, Nasser Amin, director of the Arab Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and Legal Practice, told Daily News Egypt that “stripping a person of their citizenship without his request (violates) his personal rights.”
Secretary General of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) Hafez Abu Seada shares Nasser’s view.
“It is illegal based on Egyptian law, the constitution and international human rights conventions to strip a citizen of their citizenship even if he is married to an Israeli,” Abu Seada, also a lawyer, argued.
According to Abu Seada, the Egyptian law gives any citizen the right to acquire another citizenship provided that he informs the Interior Ministry of that within a year to acquire an approval of having a double nationality.
“If the citizen does not notify the interior ministry of the other nationality he got, the state has the right to strip his Egyptian citizenship from him,” Abu Seada added.
The court said officials should take into consideration whether a man is married to an Israeli Arab or a Jew when making its decision to revoke citizenship.
El-Wahsh pointed out that the legal status of Egyptians married to Israelis of a Palestinian origin is different from that of those married to Jewish Israeli women.
In 2009, the interior and foreign ministries appealed against the decision, arguing that the matter should be put before the People’s Assembly (the Lower House of the Parliament) and not the court.
The Israeli embassy, meanwhile, told Daily News Egypt that “Israel is currently studying the court decision.” The embassy declined to give any further comments.
In a recent interview with Al-Masry Al-Youm, Shoukry El-Shazly, head of the Association of Egyptians in Israel, said that about 6,000 Egyptians live in Israel; most of them, mainly married to women from a Palestinian origin, got the Israeli citizenship.
About 1,000 Egyptian workers, who illegally entered Israel, he added, returned to Egypt.
In 2005, former Grand Mufi Sheikh Nasr Farid Wasel issued a fatwa (a religious edict) saying that Muslim Egyptians may not marry Israeli nationals, whether Arab, Muslim, or Christian.
He did not mention the possibility of a Jewish spouse.
On the other hand, late Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar Mohammed Sayed Tantawy said that while marriage between an Egyptian man and an Israeli woman was allowed in Islam, the government had the right to strip the man of his citizenship for marrying a woman from "an enemy state".
Egypt has been normalizing ties with Israel for 31 years after signing a peace treaty in 1979. –Additional reporting by AP.