Journalist from Israel Sneaks into Makkah; Offenders Face Legal Action

An Israeli journalist, Gil Tamary has breached a total ban on non-Muslim access to Islam’s holiest site in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, triggering an online backlash. He says his report aired on Israel’s Channel 13 News had not intended to offend Muslims.

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

Tamary, who was speaking to the camera in Hebrew and occasionally switching to English to avoid being recognized as an Israeli, was accompanied by a local guide whose face was obscured to prevent recognition.

The story was hailed as a scoop, and the reporter was the first Jewish Israeli to cover the yearly Hajj journey.

Strong internet criticism followed the broadcast of the report, with the hashtag “A Jew in Makkah’s Grand Mosque” trending on Twitter.


After receiving criticism online, Tamary—who was in Jeddah on Friday covering US President Joe Biden’s visit—apologized and said he didn’t mean to upset Muslims.


He posted an apology in English on Twitter: “If anyone takes offence to this video, I deeply apologize.”

He continued,“the purpose of this entire endeavour was to showcase the importance of Mecca and the beauty of the religion, and in doing so, foster more religious tolerance and inclusion.”

The journalist claimed “inquisitiveness is at the heart and center of journalism” and that his reporting had been guided by the desire to allow people to “see, for the first time, a place that is so important to our Muslim brothers and sisters, and to human history”.

The plain of Arafat, which is recognized as the site of the Prophet Muhammad’s last sermon 14 centuries ago, lies under the view of the Mount of Mercy.

The Prophet’s Mosque in Medina and the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem are the next most revered Muslim sites worldwide after Makkah.

Non-Muslims are not permitted to enter Makkah; only Muslims are. Deportation or a fine are possible penalties for breaking this rule.

Punishment for violators

The official spokesman for the Makkah Al-Mukarramah Police stated that officers in Makkah have submitted a Saudi national to the Public Prosecution after he was allegedly engaged in enabling the entry of an American non-Muslim journalist into the holy city.

The spokesman described the event in which the citizen drove the American journalist to Makkah along a corridor designated for Muslims in a statement on Friday.

He said this was an explicit violation of the regulations that prohibit non-Muslims from entering the holy precincts. The citizen was arrested and legal measures were taken against him.

The spokesperson stressed that all visitors to the Kingdom need to respect and abide by the regulations especially with regard to the Holy Mosques and the sacred sites.

“Arresting and referring a citizen to the Public Prosecution for facilitating and transporting a Non Muslim with American Nationality for entering and violating the Sanctity of the Makkah Al Mukkaramah Haram Limits.”

“Any violation of this kind is considered a crime that will not be tolerated and penalties will be applied to perpetrators based on the relevant regulations,” he added.

According to the spokesman, the case of the American journalist involved in the crime was also referred to the Public Prosecution to take appropriate action against him.

Similarly, Sheikh Abdur Rahman As Sudais, President of the Two Holy Mosques has stressed the need for full adherence to the regulations and instructions relating to the Two Holy Mosques and the holy sites and called for strict action against those who transgress the divine laws.


For Advert Inquiries
Tele/+234 7036309859

For News/Article

Have any Question or Comment?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!
Chat With Our Agent!