Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Ilan Grapel
Egypt is very busy these days. A week after Egyptian security officials helped to secure the deal that brought Israel Defense Force soldier Gilad Schalit home in the prisoner exchange with Hamas, another held Israeli is about to be freed. 

According to Egyptian media reports, Israel and Egypt are putting the “finishing touches” on a list of prisoners to be freed in exchange for Ilan Grapel. Grapel is a US-Israeli dual citizen that Egypt has charged with spying, sedition and inciting Egyptians to violence during the 18-day revolution that unseated president Hosni Mubarak. The 27-year-old’s release was reportedly worked out as part of the deal that brought home Schalit, but it’s unclear when exactly the exchange is going to take place.

Grapel emigrated to Israel in 2005 from New York and served in the IDF during the 2006 Lebanon War, where he was wounded in action. Currently enrolled as a law student at Emory University in Atlanta, Grapel was at the time of his arrest working for Saint Andrew’s Refugee Services, a non-governmental organization, in Cairo. Friends, family and US and Israeli officials have all dismissed the charges against him as “bizarre” and “ludicrous” and some point to photos Grapel posted on his Facebook page of himself in Cairo as proof that he was no spy.

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