A ruling has been upheld by a court in Cairo, urging the government to consider stripping Egyptian men who are married to Israeli women of their citizenship.
The ruling requires officials to send all such cases to the cabinet, in order to be decided on an individual basis. (photo from bbcimg.co.uk)
Last year a lower court had already made such a ruling, but the interior ministry had appealed against it.
The new decision is seen as a sign of negative feeling towards Israel in Egypt, despite a 1979 peace treaty.
In the aftermath of Israeli raids on Gaza aid ships, anti-Israeli sentiment is high in the country.
However the long-scheduled court decision was not connected.
The ruling calls on the cabinet to determine whether to remove the nationality of the men concerned, as well as that of their children.
The government should consider whether the Israeli woman was an Arab or a Jew, said the court.
About 30,000 Egyptians are married to Israeli women, according to estimations.
Nabih el-Wahsh, the lawyer who brought the case, said it was aimed at protecting Egyptian youth and Egypt’s national security.
Offspings of marriages between Egyptian men and Israeli women should not be allowed to perform military service, he added.
There should not be a new generation “disloyal to Egypt and the Arab world”, he said.
The appeal was sent by the government after a verdict last year stated the 1976 article of citizenship law should be implemented.
That law requires the stripping of citizenship of those who married Israelis who have served in the army or embraced Zionism.
Negad al-Borai, an Egyptian lawyer and a human rights activist, said he was “surprised” by the verdict. He added that the government was sending out mixed messages about Israel.
“The president congratulates Israel’s president in national holidays yet it punishes the people for having relationships with Israel,” he told Reuters news agency.
“Egyptian law says citizenship can only be revoked if the citizen is proven to be spying on his country, and this verdict considers marrying an Israeli an act of spying”.