That Stupid Stunt In Mecca

An Israeli reporter thought it would be great fun to sneak in Mecca and take selfies of himself among a million Muslims making the Hajj. A brief Jihad See report is here, and a full report on the reporter’s idea of amusement, and the response it predictably elicited among Arabs and other Muslims, is here: “Israeli channel ‘stands by’ journalist who snuck into Mecca despite outrage,” Janaseva, July 20, 2022:

An Israeli reporter who allegedly sneaked into the holy Muslim city of Mecca has sparked outrage online, with Muslims around the world blaming ‘disrespect’ for the warm relationship. between Tel Aviv and Riyadh.

Channel 13 journalist Gil Tamary of Israel’s Channel 13 shared a video of himself riding in a car on his way to Mecca, despite a long-standing ban on non-Muslims entering the city and region. nearby Medina.

The reporter also climbed Mount Arafat, a hill on the outskirts of Mecca, where the Prophet Muhammad gave his last sermon and Muslims gather for the annual Hajj pilgrimage. From there, he took selfies.

Pointing at the historic sites, Tamary passes by the Grand Mosque, the most important landmark in Islam. The Israeli reporter also drove through the arched Mecca Gate, the entrance to the city and a point where non-Muslims are prohibited from entering.

Failure to comply with the non-Muslim entry policy and attempt to enter may result in penalties, including fines or deportation. Then his report was published on July 18, a few days after he returned to Israel.

Despite not having diplomatic relations, Saudi Arabia and the Israeli regime have been witnessing a gradual evolution of relations. Several Israeli journalists were allowed into Saudi Arabia to cover the regional conference last week on foreign passports.

Tamary’s trip to the holy sites also comes as US President Joe Biden attended the GCC+3 Summit in Jeddah last week.

After a three-day visit to Israel, Biden arrived in Saudi Arabia on an unprecedented direct flight from Israel, a move Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid called the “first formal normalization step.”

Hours before the president’s arrival, Saudi Arabia’s civil aviation authority announced a decision to “open the kingdom’s airspace to all airlines that meet the authorities’ requirements for overflight,” in a statement.

This was a clear gesture by Saudi Arabia to show their openness to Israel before Biden arrived.

Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, is the most sacred city in Islam, and the Ka’aba the most sacred place. Before Covid, and again now, millions of Muslim pilgrims travel to Mecca to perform the Hajj, one of the Five Pillars of Islam, which all Muslims physically and financially able to do must perform at least once in their lives.

They start at Mount Arafat, where Muhammad is said to have given his last sermon, and continue from there.

“The final step is the farewell Tawaf, wherein pilgrims circumambulate the Kaaba anti-clockwise seven times and touching or kissing the Kaaba if possible. Pilgrims reflect on their experience and thank Allah for everything, while circumambulating the Kaaba.”

Thus do millions of Muslims, robed in white rida and izar, walk seven times widdershins round the Magic Wonderstone.

Wipe that self-satisfied grin off your face, Gil Tamary. Your little self-aggrandizing prank – look at me, everybody! An Israeli who managed to sneak into Mecca dressed as a pilgrim and even joined those performing the Hajj as they climbed Mount Arafat – has only given ammunition to those Muslims who deplore the growing Saudi ties with Israel. You have caused a world of woe for the Muslim driver whom you inveigled into driving you to the city; he is now under arrest, and god knows what punishment he will receive. You are responsible if he is harmed. And of course the Saudis had — just before your quite unnecessary little provocation — signaled another sign of warming ties to the Jewish state, by announcing that they were opening their airspace to all airplanes that met certain conditions, including those of Israel. If they now change their minds about granting Israeli planes overflight rights, it will have been a response to Gil Tamary’s miching mallecho in Mecca. One wonders if he gave a thought as to what the reaction of Jews would be if some Al Jazeera reporter in full haredi garb took selfies of himself davening at the Western Wall, or putting a piece of paper with a Qur’anic verses about Jews – held up to the camera for all to see — into one of the Wall’s crevices. Many would be offended, and they would be right.

That’s quite a stupid stunt you’ve managed, Gil Tamary. You need to be grounded, in both senses of the word.

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