At age 15, ‘Rouen Abdullah’ of Alexandria, now known as Dina Ovadia, learned she was Jewish when her family was forced to leave Egypt, but enraged Cairo after relocating to Jerusalem then joining the ‘occupation army.’
By Smadar Perry
Egypt’s Prime Minister Sherif Ismail has decided to revoke the Egyptian citizenship of 22-year-old Dina Ovadia from Jerusalem because she moved to Israel and joined the IDF.
Ovadia was born and raised in the city of Alexandria in Egypt. “My name was Rouleen Abdullah, and I went to a Muslim school,” she told the IDF journal two years ago.
When she was 15, an incident happened that turned her life upside down. “I was at home with my mother and brothers, and all of a sudden bearded thugs stormed into our apartment,” she told the IDF journal. “They were Salafists, radical Muslims. They fired into the air and warned us to leave Egypt immediately.
“In all the commotion I heard them call our apartment ‘Bayt al-Yahud’ and I didn’t understand what they were talking about. Only after they left, my grandfather sat us, his three grandchildren, for a talk and told us we were Jewish.
“It was hard for me to comprehend this, because at school we were taught to hate the Jews.”
The family left Egypt in a hurry and found a home in Jerusalem.
Ovadia joined the IDF and served in the IDF Spokesman’s Unit. Shortly before her release, she was even recognized by the unit as an exceptional soldier.
“My biggest dream,” she said in the video, “is to visit Egypt wearing uniforms, tell them my truth about Israel, and declare: I’m Jewish, and I’m proud of it.”
Ovadia’s interview and video caused outrage in Cairo, which reached its climax on Monday when the well-known TV personality Ahmed Moussa attacked “the country of the Zionist murderers” on air, and revealed that the Egyptian prime minister decided to revoke Ovadia’s citizenship.
“This is the first time in history that an Egyptian woman serves in the occupation army,” said Moussa, who failed to mention Ovadia was Jewish.
Ovadia, who was released from the IDF a year and a half ago, is currently studying international relations at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
“It’s shocking, and a low blow, but I don’t want to stoop to their level,” she said on Monday. “As far as I’m concerned, they should know I’m first and foremost a proud Jew and Israeli, and only then an Egyptian. Every additional word I say will be twisted in Egypt and used against me.”
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