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Journalist Boasts in Video of being First Israeli to Enter Makkah

Umm Muhammed Umar

Saudi police say the man who had allegedly helped a Jewish Israeli journalist enter the holy city of Makkah has been arrested. Non-Muslims are forbidden to enter Makkah. Israel’s Channel 13 journalist, Gil Tamary, tweeted a video of himself on Monday sneaking into Islam’s holiest city. The Saudi man’s detention followed Israel’s Channel 13 News having aired a 10-minute report showing Tamary driving past the Grand Mosque.

The official Saudi Press Agency last night reported Tamary as an American citizen, without making mention of his name, suggesting he had entered the country using his American passport. While the Israeli national is no longer in the Kingdom, the case has been referred to prosecutors.

Tamary posted in his clip his visit to Mount Arafat, where Hujjaaj (pilgrims) had been gathered to pray during the peak of the Hajj pilgrimage. According to Al Jazeera, he left the mount after religious police began asking him questions to ensure he was Muslim.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Gazette reports that the official spokesman for the Makkah region police said that the incident in which the Saudi national transported the so called ‘American’ journalist to Makkah, was an unambiguous desecration of the protocols that prohibit non-Muslims from entering the holy precincts. He said, “Any violation of this kind is considered a crime that will not be tolerated, and suitable penalties will be applied to perpetrators.” The spokesman said the case had also been referred to the Public Prosecution for appropriate action against the ‘American’ journalist.

Israel’s regional cooperation minister, Esawi Freij, who is a Muslim, criticized Tamary for his “irresponsible and damaging” report aired “just for the sake of ratings.” He said, “I’m sorry (but) it was a stupid thing to do and take pride in.” The journalist has reportedly since apologised.

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