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Tuesday, 3 April, 2001, 17:11 GMT 18:11 UK
Egyptian men seek Israeli brides

An Egyptian member of parliament has complained that unemployed Egyptian men are increasingly turning to Israeli women for brides.

The MP, Abu'l-ezz al-Hariri, told a parliamentary committee that rising unemployment and the desire to escape the poverty trap they were marrying Israeli women in ever greater numbers.

There are now an estimated fourteen thousand Egyptian men married to Israeli wives -- many of these are Israeli Arabs of Palestinian descent.

Our correspondent in Cairo says that despite the so-called cold peace that has existed between Egypt and Israel for the last twenty-two years, Egyptians are encouraged by their media to distance themselves from anything Israeli. Earlier this year, the second highest religious authority in Egypt, Mufti Nasser Farid Wasil, proclaimed it was sinful to marry an Israeli.

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