Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court Saturday upheld a ruling requiring the country's Ministry of Interior [official website] to revoke the citizenship of Egyptian men married to Jewish Israeli women. The court distinguished Israeli women of Jewish origin from those of Arab origin, saying the two are fundamentally different because Arab Israeli women have been living under Israeli occupation since 1948. Notwithstanding its general ruling, the court directed that the ministry should present each particular marriage case separately to the Cabinet [Washington Post report] for rulings on the specific merits. The court said that evaluation of the mixed marriages was critical to national security and was necessary to maintain loyalty among its citizens to Egypt and the Arab world. The appeal stemmed from a lower court decision ordering the Interior Ministry to enforce a 1976 law which banned the marriage of Egyptian men to Israeli women who have served in the army or embrace the ideology of Zionism. The ruling cannot be appealed.
The court ruling adds additional strain to an already tenuous relationship between Egypt and Israel. In January Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [official website; BBC profile] announced the construction of 70 miles of fence along Israel's border with Egypt [JURIST report] in order to combat terrorism and illegal immigration. As much as 60 percent of Israel's borders are now closed by physical barriers [Al Jazeera report], including its borders with neighboring Lebanon, Jordan, the Gaza Strip, and most of the West Bank.