Saudi Visitor Spat On by Arabs At Har HaBayis

Wooden footbridge (R) leading up from the Kosel to the Har Habayis. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

A Saudi member of a delegation of foreign journalists visiting Israel was subjected to verbal and physical abuse as he went to Har HaBayis on Monday.

The man, described as a Saudi blogger, who is here at the invitation of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, was cursed, spat at, jeered and told to “go to a synagogue.”

Video clips showed people shouting “traitor,” “animal” and “normalizer,” at him, and small boys approaching to spit in his face. Plastic chairs and sticks were hurled at him as he walked in the market in the Old City.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry acting spokesman Nizar Amer wrote on Twitter: “We strongly condemn the cruel and immoral behavior of some Palestinians near the Al-Aqsa Mosque toward a Saudi media personality who came to Jerusalem to be a bridge to peace and understanding between peoples.”

Mahmoud Saud, a Saudi law student and blogger, was the only member of the six-person delegation to allow his name to be publicized, and agreed to be photographed in the Knesset with Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman MK Avi Dichter (Likud).

Dichter quoted one member of the delegation saying, “This visit to Israel is like touring a dreamland. If only we would be able to bring hundreds of people from our countries, so that when they go back they can tell what they saw and felt.”

Shai Cohen, the Knesset diplomatic adviser, told the delegation that the Knesset is interested in forging ties with parliaments in the Arab states.

“We separate between progress on the peace process with the Palestinians and deepening our ties with the moderate Arab world,” he said.

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