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PM Ismail strips Egyptian woman of citizenship for serving in Israeli army

Ahram Online , Wednesday 20 Jan 2016
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Views: 2939

Egypt's Prime Minister Sherif Ismail issued a decree Sunday revoking the nationality of an Egyptian citizen who joined the Israeli army without permission from the Egyptian ministry of defence.

Dina Ovadia is an Israeli of Egyptian origin who made headlines two years ago for joining Israel’s army.

Several Egyptian media outlets welcomed PM Ismail’s decision – which comes in accordance with Article 16 of the Egyptian constitution.

Article 16 gives the PM the right to strip citizens who join foreign armies of their Egyptian nationality.

The Egyptian media slammed Ovadia for joining the Israeli army, which once occupied Egyptian territories 1967-1983 and has been occupying Palestinian lands since 1948. 

Israeli media, on the other hand, denounced the Egyptian prime minister’s decision, describing it as “anti-Semitic.”

Ovadia also slammed the decision, saying "it's shocking and a low blow, but I do not want to stoop to their level," adding that the Egyptian government should know she is first and foremost a proud Jew and Israeli. 

"Every additional word I say will be twisted in Egypt and used against me," she added.

In April 2014, the Arabic media spokesperson for the Israeli army, Avichy Adree, released a video online of conscript Ovadia where she said in Arabic that she would recount her experience of leaving Egypt to coincide with the Jewish holiday of Passover, which celebrates the biblical story of the Jewish people’s exodus from Egypt.

According to Ovadia, she was raised as Roulin Abdullah in El-Maamoura district, Alexandria till the age of 15 without knowing she was a Jew. 

The 22-year-old claimed her family fled Egypt after radical Salafists stormed their home and threatened the family with harm if they remained in the country.

The family moved to Israel and settled down in Jerusalem. 

On 23 April 2014, Ovadia was honoured by the Israeli army spokesperson unit, and her story was featured as a “21st century exodus” on the official army website.

Ovadia's brother and sister have also served in the Israeli army, according to Israeli media.

In 1947 – the year before Israel was created – Egypt had 64,165 Jews, according to the public census.

As the Arab-Israeli conflict worsened, most of Egypt’s Jews left for Europe and the United Staes, with some choosing to make Israel home. 

By 2014, only nine Egyptian Jews remain living in Egypt, according to media reports.

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