Saudi citizen arrested for helping Israeli journalist enter Mecca

The entry of a non-Muslim into the holy city of Mecca has sparked controversy. Police have arrested a Saudi Arabian national for helping a journalist working for the Israeli media enter the city. This information was reported by the police of Saudi Arabia on Friday local time.

The journalist’s name is Gil Tamari. He works for the Israeli news channel Channel 13. He posted a video on Twitter last Monday. There he is seen entering Makkah. Non-Muslims are prohibited from entering Mecca, the holiest city for Muslims.
Citing the police, Saudi Arabia’s official news agency SPA also confirmed the arrest of the Saudi citizen. However, without mentioning the journalist’s name, it is said that he is an American citizen. The police recommended to take legal action against him.

In the 10-minute video shared by journalist Gil Tamari on Twitter, he is seen traveling to ‘Mount Arafat’. Every year during the holy Hajj, Muslim pilgrims gather there for prayers. The journalist said in the video that he knew what he was doing was against the law. He just wanted to highlight this very important place for ‘Muslim brothers and sisters’.

Saudi Arabia has not recognized the country as a state even though it has increased business relations behind the scenes with Israel. Riyadh did not even join the US-brokered Abraham Accords in 2020. Two of Saudi Arabia’s neighbors – the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain – have established relations with Israel through the Abraham Accords.