Saudi citizen arrested for helping Israeli journalist enter Mecca

Saudi citizen arrested for helping Israeli journalist enter Mecca
2 min read
22 July, 2022
A Saudi citizen was arrested after helping Israeli journalist Gil Tamari enter sacred sites in the holy city of Mecca.
Police in Mecca arrested a Saudi citizen accused of helping Gil Tamari enter Mecca [Getty]

A Saudi citizen has been arrested for facilitating the entry of an Israeli journalist into the holy city of Mecca.

Gil Tamari, the world news editor at Israeli Channel 13, took a video of himself crossing into the holy city of Mecca and pointing to the Grand Mosque, known as Masjid Al-Haram, in footage shared by his network.

The footage sparked outrage across the Muslim world.

Non-Muslims are traditionally banned from entering Mecca and Medina, in accordance with verses from the Quran.

On Friday, police in Mecca arrested a Saudi citizen who they say helped Tamari enter the holy sites.

A police spokesperson told the official Saudi Press Agency that the defendant violated local and religious regulations. He has been referred to the Public Prosecution and will now face legal charges.

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“Any violation of this kind is considered a crime that will not be tolerated, and suitable penalties will be applied to perpetrators according to the relevant regulations,” the spokesperson said.

He added that all visitors to Saudi Arabia must respect local rules, especially the ones regarding the Holy Mosques and other sacred Islamic sites.

The statement referred to Tamari as a non-Muslim citizen of the United States and made no mention of his Israeli citizenship, nor his Jewish faith.

After entering the sacred sites, Tamari apologised for his actions, claiming his only intention was "to showcase the importance of Mecca and the beauty".

However, he stood by his report, saying his willingness to enter the holy site proves his journalistic integrity.