Egypt: Israeli tourists spark outrage by waving national flag at Sinai music festival

Egypt: Israeli tourists spark outrage by waving national flag at Sinai music festival
Israeli tourists have drawn the ire of Egyptian activists for waving the Israeli flag during a music festival in Nuweiba, Sinai province as seen in footage circulating online.
2 min read
11 May, 2022
The Hashmaliko festival took place in the tourist-popular town of Nuweiba, Sinai Peninsula [Getty]

Egyptian activists have expressed outrage at Israeli tourists brandishing the Israeli flag during a music festival in Sinai, reported Al Jazeera Mubasher.

The tourists were seen singing and dancing on a beach when some brought out the flag and started waving it, in videos and images which circulated online on Monday and Tuesday.

The Israeli Hashmaliko music festival took place between 4-7 May at Dana Beach Camp, in the coastal of town of Nuweiba, eastern Sinai Peninsula, and has drawn condemnation from Egyptian activists and journalists.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions’ (BDS) Egyptian branch, which opposes Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories, called the incident "a disaster" in a post on Twitter. It added that the flag-bearing antics were a "message to Egyptians that they [Israelis] can visit our country against our will". 

Activists called on the Egyptian authorities to investigate the incident of raising the Israeli flag in Sinai, which was once occupied by Israel following the 1956 invasion of the Suez canal, and again in 1967 during the Six-Day War.

Meanwhile, two flag-waving tourists were allegedly arrested on Friday, reported Israel’s Channel 12. Local police accused them of "challenging" Egypt’s sovereignty of the Sinai Peninsula with their behaviour.

The Israeli tourists were detained for two days, where they received assistance from the Israeli embassy and foreign ministry, which was then followed by their release and subsequent return to Israel.

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The organisers of two other parties - the Nabia and Grounded festivals - were also widely criticised for allowing their events to run in the country last month, when the Jewish Passover holiday, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and Sinai Liberation Day took place.

BDS in Egypt called for the boycott of the festivals’ venues, notably the Tolip Resort and Spa in Taba city, which is linked to the Egyptian army.

Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, which established normalised ties between the two countries.

More than 700,000 Israeli tourists visited Egypt in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic began, according to Al-Monitor.