Netanyahu and Uda Tarabin.
(photo credit: CHAIM TZACH/GPO)
Israel “takes care of all its citizens, without exception,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the outset of Sunday’s cabinet meeting, where he discussed the return to Israel last week of Ouda Tarabin from Egyptian jail.
Israel agreed to release three Egyptian prisoners who had served their terms, and another three whose terms were not complete, but who were not in jail for any security offenses, the prime minister said.
Netanyahu said that he worked on getting Tarabin released with three Egyptian presidents, Hosni Mubarak, Mohamed Morsi and Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and that 18 months ago he sent his envoy Yitzhak Molcho to Cairo to ensure that Tarabin, sentenced on espionage charges denied by Israel, would indeed be released at the end of his 15-year term. He was released on the day his term expired, and allowed to return to Israel a week later.
Netanyahu did not address reports that in addition to the release of the six Egyptian prisoners, Israel also agreed to give Egypt 2 percentage points of its 10.5% share of earnings in one of the Qualifying Industrial Zone’s with Egypt, a deal worth millions of dollars a year.
The QIZs, which exist with both Egypt and Jordan, allow those two countries to export products duty-free to the US if the products contain input from Israel. There are some 10 QIZ zones with Egypt.
The Prime Minister’s Office had no comment when asked if this indeed was part of the deal to free Tarabin.