A 24-year-old Egyptian has been arrested by authorities for allegedly committing the crime of “loving Israel.”
National media outlets in Egypt have given the “suspect” the moniker “Israel lover,” after he was spotted with a tattoo of the Star of David on his arm.
According to authorities, the man “made contact with Israelis through his Facebook page, and he clicked ‘like’ on the Mossad’s Facebook page.”
Authorities also allege that the man, who is currently unemployed, made contact with the Israeli and South Sudanese embassies in Cairo. He is also reported to have posted critical comments of the Egyptian government on his Facebook page.
While Israel and Egypt have had full diplomatic relations for 35 years, civilian contacts between Egyptians and Israelis are considered taboo in Egypt, the largest Arab country in the Middle East. In the first 30 years of Israel’s existence, it fought four large-scale wars with Egypt, two of which ended in decisive victories for Israel.
In his online discussions with Israelis, the Egyptian was said to have professed his admiration for the Jewish state. He is also believed to have attempted to reach Israel through Sudan.
Local media reported on a list of items that authorities say “prove the suspect’s guilt,” including a Hebrew-Arab dictionary, $100 US, rifle rounds and four identity cards, each of which indicate that he worked in a different place.
A business card belonging to the South Sudan embassy was found in his possession.
On the back of the card was written: “Israeli embassy.”
Authorities who investigated his Facebook page and his personal computer discovered that he clicked “like” on the Mossad’s page as well as that of the IDF Spokesperson and other Israeli pages. He was also found to have downloaded pictures of Israeli soldiers and officers as well as other figures waving the Israeli flag.
According to local media reports, the man admitted that “while he worked as a driver in a tourist resort in Sinai, he traveled to Sharm el-Sheikh in 2011, met an Israeli woman and tried to enter Israel by way of a local Beduin who smuggled infiltrators into Israel.”