Egypt has blocked Egyptian playwright and satirist Ali Salem from entering Israel to receive an honorary doctorate Wednesday from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
The university is involved in numerous projects to promote peace between Israel and its neighbors and has nurtured ties with Egypt since the peace treaty with Israel was signed. Anwar Sadat visited the campus in May 1979, accompanied by Hosni Mubarak, to receive the Star of Peace along with Menachem Begin. In 1995 the university bestowed an honorary doctorate on Egypt's then-ambassador to Israel, Mohammad Bassiouni.
Salem is known for his biting prose, and his plays have savagely attacked various phenomena in Egyptian society. In recent years he has published a series of articles in the Egyptian and world press, alongside humorous pieces and short satirical stories. His stories have been anthologized and are very popular.
Since the Oslo Accords, Salem has braved criticism for publicly preaching peace and normalization of ties with Israel.
He has visited here several times, and chronicled his first trip in the book "Journey into Israel," which became a best seller in Egypt and was published in Hebrew and English.
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