Saudi National Arrested For Helping Non-Muslim Israeli Reporter Enter Mecca

Israeli reporter enters Mecca, Saudi National arrested for helping him

Israeli journalist Gil Tamary posted a video on Twitter of him sneaking into Mecca. (File)

Riyadh:

A Saudi who allegedly helped a non-Muslim into the holy city of Mecca has been arrested, police in the kingdom said Friday, following an online backlash against an Israeli journalist.

The journalist, Gil Tamary of Israel’s Channel 13, posted a video on Twitter on Monday of him sneaking himself into Mecca, Islam’s holiest city, in defiance of a ban on non-Muslims.

Mecca’s regional police have “referred a citizen” to prosecutors for alleged complicity in “transferring and facilitating the entry of a (non-Muslim) journalist,” a police spokesman said in comments from the official Saudi Press Agency.

SPA did not name the journalist, but said he is a US citizen, whose case has also been referred to prosecutors “to take the necessary proceedings against him in accordance with the applicable laws”.

Despite growing behind-the-scenes business and security contacts, Saudi Arabia does not recognize Israel or join the 2020 US-brokered Abraham Accords, which saw the Jewish state forge ties with two of the kingdom’s neighbors, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

In his approximately 10-minute clip, Tamary visits Mount Arafat, where annually dressed Muslim pilgrims gather to pray during the culmination of the Hajj pilgrimage.

He makes it clear that he knows what he is doing is prohibited, but says he wanted to “show a place that is so important to our Muslim brothers and sisters”.

Tamary’s justification, and subsequent apology, did little to assuage angry Saudi social media reactions.

The controversy followed US President Joe Biden’s visit to both Israel and Saudi Arabia last week.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)

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