Saudi Arabia: Video of Israeli journalist wandering Mecca sparks controversy

He said he wanted to show the importance of the site in the Muslim religion. An Israeli journalist has sparked controversy after posting a video of himself strolling in Saudi Arabia. Mecca is the first holy place of IslamForbidden to non-Muslims.

A video by journalist Gil Damari, who works for Israel’s Channel 13, sparked a backlash on social media in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, two days after it was posted on Twitter. On Tuesday, the journalist apologized for his crime.

In his 10-minute video, the Israeli journalist is seen visiting Mount Arafat, an essential and holiest site in the Mecca pilgrimage.

He himself admits that what he’s doing is forbidden, pointing out that the place he’s in is “forbidden to non-Muslims,” ​​adding, “I’m the first Israeli journalist to take a video here and a video in Hebrew.

“Showing the Beauty of Islam”

Responding to protests on social media, Gill Damari explained that “his goal is to show the importance of this.” Makkah And the beauty of Islam. He reasons that the video “allowed many people to see for the first time a place that is very important to our Muslim brothers and sisters.” But his explanations did not quell the anger in the media and social media.

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The hashtag “Jew in the Holy Mosque” was created on Twitter, where one user called on the Saudi authorities to “not insult the Muslim nation (…) by allowing Jews to desecrate the city of the Messenger of God”.

Riyadh never joined the Abraham Accords negotiated by Washington in 2020, which allowed Israel to normalize its relations with Saudi Arabia’s neighbors Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, two Gulf states.

Shame on you”

Many Israeli journalists holding foreign passports were able to travel to Saudi Arabia before and during the trip. US President Joe Biden visited the region last week.

Gil Damari’s video, like some of his Israeli counterparts, was condemned as a “disgrace” by Twitter accounts promoting diplomatic normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

“There are things to be said: What Gil Damari did is a disgrace to journalism,” Yoav Limor, another Israeli journalist who recently visited the kingdom, wrote on Twitter. Saudi officials did not respond to inquiries by AFP.

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