Who is Gil Tamary? Jewish Journalist Stokes Controversy After Entering Mecca Where Non-Muslims Are Banned

An Israeli journalist entered Islam's holiest site, where non-Muslims are not allowed, in Mecca, stoking controversy. Gil Tamary also made videos of his visit to the site. The Jewish journalist's visit to Grand Mosque that houses the cube-shaped Kaaba, the holiest shrine in Islam, has been criticised by Gulf countries as he breached a total ban on non-Muslim access to Islam's holiest site in Mecca.

Tamary also prepared a 10-minute video report of his visit which was broadcast on Israel's Channel 13 News. The reporter claims that he attempted to document Muslim's annual pilgrimage of Hajj.

Gil Tamary
Gil Tamary Twitter

Tamary Was Accompanied By A Local Guide

The journalist was accompanied by a local guide, who is now arrested and will be prosecuted. In the footage aired on TV, the face of the local guide has been blurred and his identity has also not been revealed.

Footage Shows Tamary Sneaking Into Mecca

The clip, which shows Tamary sneaking into Mecca, was aired on Monday. In the video, Tamary spoke in Hebrew a few times and later switched to English to hide his identity.

Tamary Visited Mount Arafat

In the footage, Tamary is seen visiting Mount Arafat, where robed Muslim pilgrims gather to pray during the climax of the hajj pilgrimage each year. After arresting the local guide, Mecca regional police referred him to prosecutors for alleged complicity in transferring and facilitating the entry of a (non-Muslim) journalist, according to The Times of Israel.

Tamary claimed that his visit to Mecca was not intended to offend Muslims, or any other person. "If anyone takes offense to this video, I deeply apologize. The purpose of this entire endeavor was to showcase the importance of Mecca."

He also claimed that he wanted to showcase the beauty of the religion, and in doing so foster more religious tolerance and inclusion.

Tamary underlined that inquisitiveness is at the heart and center of journalism, and this type of first-hand journalistic encounter is what separates good journalism from great journalism.

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