Friday, June 11, 2010

More details on why Egypt is banning marriage to Israeli Jewish women

Al Masry al-Youm goes into an interesting detail of the justification for Egypt's new law that bans Egyptian men from marrying Israeli Jews (and, just maybe, Jews altogether):

The higher court's final--and irreversible--June 5 ruling is designed, according to Nabil el-Wahash, the lawyer who first raised the case, to protect Egypt's national security and prevent a new generation of Egyptians "disloyal to Egypt and the Arab world."

The case stems from the fact that, in Judaic tradition, religion is passed down through the mother, thus rendering Jewish all children born to Jewish mothers. Since, under Israeli state law, all Jews are eligible to become citizens of Israel--the self-proclaimed "Jewish state"--the offspring of Egyptian men married to Israeli women could theoretically apply for Israeli citizenship, which would oblige them to temporarily serve in the Israeli military. Seeing this as a potential conflict of interest, the Egyptian judiciary upheld the ruling to strip Egyptian men married to Jewish-Israeli women of their citizenship.

Under Egypt's citizenship law, three crimes can lead to the forfeiture of one's citizenship: if he or she is found to pose a threat to national security; is guilty of treason; or if he or she is a Zionist, explained Hafez Abu Saeda, head of the Cairo-based Egyptian Organization for Human Rights.

Discrimination aside, critics of the law say it contains a number of loopholes, including, among other things, the question of Egyptian men marrying Jewish women not carrying Israeli passports. With Jews anywhere in the world eligible to become Israeli citizens, might a new law be enacted to strip the citizenship of all Egyptian men married to Jewish women, Israeli or otherwise?

While this remains highly unlikely, Egypt and Israel remain neighbors--officially at peace since 1979--so Israeli women are therefore set to remain a common factor in Egyptian-Jewish marriages.
The logic of this law is exactly the same as a law that would outlaw Jews from living in Egypt.

Notice that Egypt has a law that makes being a "Zionist" a reason to strip someone of their citizenship. This means that even three decades after the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, Egypt still does not fundamentally accept the right of Israel to exist - because that is what Zionism is.

I wonder if Jordan has a similar law.

(The article also quotes the highly exaggerated figure that some 30,000 Egyptians are married to Israeli Jews - a figure that was pretty much plucked out of thin air, and is probably exaggerated by one or two orders of magnitude.)