Israeli passport [Illustrative].
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Egypt’s Interior Ministry revoked the citizenship of three of its citizens, because they acquired Israeli citizenship.
The three, Rivka, Samuel and David Daniel received Israeli nationality without permission from the Interior Ministry, The Cairo Post reported on Monday.
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab stripped a total of five Egyptians of their citizenship, with the other two appearing to be Palestinians, according to the country’s Official Gazette.
Mohamed al-Besheity is accused of joining a foreign military without permission from the Defense Ministry.
His family is known to mostly reside in the Gaza Strip, according to the report.
Palestinians have had difficulty getting Egyptian citizenship.
“After the January 25 Revolution in 2011, it was reportedly easier for half-Palestinians born to Egyptian mothers to be naturalized, especially during the one year-rule of former president Mohamed Morsi,” said the report.
However, some Palestinians naturalized during Morsi’s reign were stripped of their new Egyptian citizenship after Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ousted Morsi and became president.
“Egypt defended the move by claiming that the individuals involved had acquired foreign nationality without Defense Ministry permission,” said Oren Kessler, a former Jerusalem Post reporter and now deputy director for research at Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington. “But it’s hard not to notice that two of the individuals appear to be Gazans, and the other three are allegedly Israeli. Neither of those communities are particularly popular in Cairo – Gazans because their territory is run by Hamas, and Israelis because they’re Israelis.”
“The story about the three supposed Israelis also smells fishy,” added Kessler. “Egypt’s Jewish community numbers just seven by my count, so these three would represent almost half the population. Moreover, when concocting supposed Jewish conspiracies, Egyptian authorities generally cite the most common, obvious biblical names they can come up with – Rivka, Samuel and David in this case.”
“I would be surprised if these people even exist,” he said.
On Monday, Kessler published an article in Foreign Affairs highlighting the successes of the Egyptian-Israeli free-trade areas known as Qualifying Industrial Zones, or QIZs. He said that there are 15 such industrial parks, which can export goods to the US duty free.
Despite growing bilateral commercial and security ties, however, anti-Israel sentiment remains widespread among Egyptians.