Saudi police arrest man who helped Israeli sneak into Mecca | Religion News

Mecca regional police have arrested an unnamed Saudi nationwide who helped sneak the Israeli reporter into Mecca.

A Saudi man who allegedly helped a Jewish Israeli journalist enter the holy metropolis of Mecca has been arrested, police within the kingdom have stated, after a backlash on social media.

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

Mecca regional police have “referred a citizen” to prosecutors for alleged complicity in “transferring and facilitating the entry of a (non-Muslim) journalist”, a police spokesperson stated in feedback reported by the official Saudi Press Company late on Friday.

SPA didn’t identify Tamary however stated he’s an American citizen, implying he had entered the nation utilizing his American passport because the kingdom has no formal ties with Israel.

His case has additionally been referred to prosecutors “to take the mandatory procedures in opposition to him in accordance with the utilized legal guidelines”, regardless of the Israeli nationwide now not being within the kingdom.

Whereas Muslims of any nationality and background can enter Mecca, non-Muslims aren’t permitted as a result of a really particular code of conduct and behavior is required of all individuals inside its boundaries, together with sure types of modesty, ritual cleaning and prayers.

In his roughly 10-minute clip, Tamary visits Mount Arafat, the place robed Muslim pilgrims collect to hope throughout the climax of the Hajj pilgrimage annually.

He makes clear he is aware of that what he’s doing is outlawed however says he needed to showcase “a spot that’s so necessary to our Muslim brothers and sisters”.

Tamary left the mount after he stated the non secular police started asking him questions to ensure he was a Muslim.

The general public backlash over Tamary’s go to was fast on social media, with Muslims and Saudis expressing their anger over his deception and obvious disregard for the sanctity of the location.

Translation: If he’s a Muslim, he’s welcome no matter his nationality. But when he’s not a Muslim, I hope that he shall be investigated and with those that cooperated with him and understand how he entered the Holy Sanctuary. What God has forbidden within the Holy Quran can’t be tolerated and ignored. 

Translation: The Saudi media insists on ignoring what we all know. I do know he’s an Israeli journalist with an American passport, and also you all comprehend it, and the [Saudi] authorities itself is aware of that, and gave him particular permission to work as a reporter for an Israeli media firm. The journalist himself within the video boasted that he was the primary Israeli to enter Mecca.

The incident comes as Saudi-Israeli ties have been quietly rising amid shared issues over Iran. Publicly, the dominion insists its coverage is that full ties can solely occur when Palestinian statehood and rights are assured.

The reporter and Channel 13 responded on Twitter after the report aired. The information channel, in each Hebrew and Arabic, stated Tamary’s report was pushed by “journalistic curiosity” and a need to witness and see issues first hand.

Police known as on guests to respect Saudi Arabia’s legal guidelines, notably relating to Mecca and Islam’s holiest websites within the kingdom.

Israeli journalist sneaks into Mecca triggering online backlash | News

An Israeli journalist has breached a complete ban on non-Muslim entry to Islam’s holiest web site in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, triggering a web-based backlash and doubtlessly straining rising ties between Tel Aviv and Gulf nations.

Israel’s Channel 13 Information aired a 10-minute report on Monday during which journalist Gil Tamary drove previous the Grand Mosque that homes the cube-shaped Kaaba, the holiest shrine in Islam, and climbed the Mount of Mercy.

Tamary, who was accompanied by a neighborhood information whose face was blurred to forestall identification, lowered his voice whereas chatting with the digicam in Hebrew and at instances switched to English to keep away from revealing himself as Israeli.

The report was billed as a scoop and the journalist the primary Jewish Israeli reporter to doc the annual Muslim pilgrimage of Hajj.

The footage obtained a powerful on-line backlash, with the Twitter hashtag “A Jew in Mecca’s Grand Mosque” trending after the report was aired.

Among the many critics was Mohammed Saud, a pro-Israel Saudi activist. “My expensive mates in Israel, a journalist of yours entered town of Mecca, holy to Islam, and filmed there shamelessly,” he mentioned.

“Disgrace on you Channel 13, for hurting the faith of Islam like that. You might be impolite.”

Israel’s regional cooperation minister Esawi Freij, who’s Muslim, denounced Tamary’s report as “silly and dangerous” to Israel-Gulf ties.

“It was irresponsible and damaging to air this report only for the sake of scores,” he added.


Tamary, who was in Jeddah overlaying United States President Joe Biden’s go to on Friday, apologised after the net backlash saying he had not supposed to offend Muslims.

“If anybody takes offence to this video, I deeply apologize,” he wrote in English on Twitter.

“The aim of this complete endeavour was to showcase the significance of Mecca and the great thing about the faith, and in doing so, foster extra non secular tolerance and inclusion,” he added.

The journalist claimed “inquisitiveness is on the coronary heart and heart of journalism” and that his reporting had been guided by the will to permit individuals to “see, for the primary time, a spot that’s so necessary to our Muslim brothers and sisters, and to human historical past”.

The Mount of Mercy oversees the plain of Arafat, revered because the place the place the Prophet Muhammad held his final sermon 14 centuries in the past.

Mecca is probably the most sacred place of worship for Muslims on this planet, adopted by the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina and the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Solely Muslims are allowed to go to Mecca, whereas non-Muslims can’t enter. The breach of this rule can lead to a effective or deportation.

Mending ties

Saudi media, tightly managed by the federal government, didn’t cowl the story. It was unclear whether or not authorities had accepted the journalist’s Mecca journey.

Israel and Saudi Arabia don’t have any diplomatic relations, and the dominion doesn’t recognise Israel as a state.

However behind the scenes, the 2 sides have been working collectively on safety points for a while, with a typical concern over the rising affect within the area of their widespread enemy Iran.

Saudi Arabia mentioned final week it could open its airspace to all air carriers, paving the way in which for extra overflights to and from Israel, in an extra signal that relations between the 2 international locations are warming.

The Biden administration desires Saudi Arabia to be its personal addition to the normalisation offers referred to as the “Abraham Accords”, a course of underneath former President Donald Trump that noticed Israel normalise ties with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.

Israel asks Saudis to let Mecca pilgrims fly in from Tel Aviv | News

Israeli official asks Saudi Arabia to confess direct flights from Tel Aviv for Muslim pilgrims forward of US President Joe Biden’s go to to the dominion.

Israel’s regional cooperation minister says that he has requested Saudi Arabia to confess direct flights from Tel Aviv for Muslim pilgrims to carry out the Hajj, pointing to a doable new lodging by Riyadh forward of subsequent week’s go to by US President Joe Biden.

Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Freij on Thursday stated Israel has been working to convey what he deemed as “under-the-counter” contacts between the international locations – primarily based totally on business pursuits and shared worries about Iran – extra into the open.

“I need to see the day after I can depart from Ben-Gurion [airport] to Jeddah to fulfil my spiritual obligation” of pilgrimage to Mecca, stated Freij, a member of Israel’s 18 % Muslim minority.

“I took this matter up with Saudi Arabia and I actually hope that day will come,” he informed Israel’s Military Radio, with out increasing on the place or when such discussions happened.

Saudi Arabia has lengthy admitted Muslim pilgrims from Israel however they have to journey via third international locations. That finally ends up costing roughly $11,500 for a week-long keep, Freij stated. Pilgrims from neighbouring Arab international locations pay round half that.

Israeli officers have additionally sought expanded permission for Israeli airways to fly over Saudi territory to Asian locations.

Saudi Arabia doesn’t recognise Israel and has stated nothing of doable bilateral developments throughout Biden’s go to. Israel has additionally shied from drawing such hyperlinks.

However an individual in Washington who was accustomed to the matter stated the brand new aviation offers sought by Israel might be introduced across the time of Biden’s go to however that particulars nonetheless wanted to be labored out and might not be accomplished in time.


When the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain established relations with Israel in 2020, Riyadh signalled its assent by offering a Saudi air hall for Israeli planes headed to these Gulf states.

“We’re in talks on getting common [Saudi] over-flight rights for locations apart from Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Manama. It will save vital instances for reaching Asian locations, for instance,” an Israeli official informed the Reuters information company.

Individually, an Israeli day by day newspaper reported that an adviser to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stated that the potential for holding a gathering between Saudi, American and Israeli officers was being thought of throughout Biden’s go to to the dominion subsequent week.