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2013-04-03

ASIA/ISRAEL - Doors open to the immigration of the Copts persecuted? The Israeli government denies

Jerusalem (Agenzia Fides) - The recent, surprising rumors about an alleged preferential lane reserved by Israeli authorities to the immigration of Christian Copts fleeing Egypt politically in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood has received an initial unofficial denial by the government of Israel.
On Monday, April 1 the Egyptian newspaper Youm7 had attributed to the Israeli government the intention to apply to the Egyptians of Coptic faith fleeing their Country the reception procedures reserved for the persecuted. The lawyer of Egyptian origin Mansour al Samuely, presented by the newspaper as head of the Israeli office for the release of permits to immigrants to stay, spoke of 237 Coptic families who have arrived in Israel for asylum by virtue of their status as a persecuted .
A denial attributed to an anonymous source in the Israeli government was released yesterday by the Jerusalem correspondent network Al Arabiya. The anonymous Israeli official noted that it is impossible to apply the right of asylum to people from "a friendly Country with which we share a peace treaty."
The allegations of possible migration flows of Coptic Christians towards Israel report the matter to the attention of the delicate relationship between the largest indigenous Christian church present in Arab Countries and the Jewish state. In 1979, after the signing of the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, Pope Shenouda III - then head of the Coptic Orthodox Church - had issued a decree to ban the Coptic Orthodox to make a pilgrimage to Israel as a sign of solidarity with the Palestinians under occupation. That measure has not yet been revoked, even if after the death of Pope Shenouda infractions by large groups of Coptic Orthodox faithful who arrive on pilgrimage to Jerusalem have intensified (GV) (Agenzia Fides 03/04/2013).

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