Arab-Israeli jailed in Egypt to Netanyahu: If I were Jewish, you would fight for me

Ouda Tarabin, a Beduin serving a 15-year sentence on charges of spying for Israel, accuses Netanyahu, Israeli gov't of discrimination, racism.

May 15, 2014 18:44
1 minute read.

Ouda Tarabin. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Ouda Tarabin, an Israeli Beduin jailed in Egypt for the last 14 years, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu this week slamming his government as racist for failing to successfully intervene on his behalf.

"I am Ouda Tarabin, an Israeli citizen, and your government forgot me in an Egyptian prison, where I'm being held for no reason. Had I been Jewish or Druse, you would have fought for me," Tarabin wrote. "Unfortunately neither you nor your government took care of me because I'm an Arab."

His letter describes ill-treatment in the Egyptian prison and a lack of legal rights. Tarabin says he was discriminated against and denied consultation with the judge due to his Israeli citizenship.

Tarabin called on Netanyahu to intervene immediately and to put an end to his suffering and that of his family.

"I want to feel that I am a citizen of a country that respects its citizens, looks out for their interests, and doesn't discriminate between them," Tarabin ended the note.

Tarabin was arrested after illegally crossing the border into Egypt in late 1999, and sentenced to 15 years on charges of spying. Both Israel and Tarabin’s family have denied the charges.

Speculation over Tarabin’s possible release began during the 2011 US-mediated Egyptian-Israeli negotiations for the release of Ilan Grapel, an Israeli-American law student held for nearly five months on charges of spying for Israel. Grapel was freed in October of 2012 in exchange for 25 Egyptian security prisoners. Negotiators failed to win Tarabin's release as part of that deal.

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