Jerusalem: A pregnant reporter for Arabic
al-Jazeera TV channel was allegedly barred from an annual
event for foreign journalists addressed by Israeli premier
Benjamin Netanyahu for refusing to remove her bra at the
The reporter-cum-producer for the network said she was
asked to stand in the queue with colleagues and journalists on
her arrival to the event venue.
"We waited for half-an-hour and saw more Arab
journalists joining our queue. In fact, they created a queue
for Arabs and a queue for other journalists," Najwan Simri
Diab (31) told news portal Ynetnews.
Simri Diab said she had complained to the guards that
she could not stand up longer because of her pregnancy. They
told her to sit down and wait. They later took her downstairs
and asked her to remove her clothes and she complied.
"I was left with just my undershirt and trousers,
without my shoes and the rest of my equipment," she said,
adding, the extensive check did not end there and she was
later asked to remove her bra.
"I asked why, but the female officer insisted. Her
supervisor came over later and insisted as well. I refused and
she said, `So you won`t go in,`" Simri Diab said.
Other reporters, including Turkish correspondents,
complained of extremely meticulous inspections that, they
said, were humiliating but were eventually let inside the
hall, she said.
Following the incident, she approached Government
Press Office Director Oren Helman, who organised the event and
told him that due to the demands placed by Israel`s internal
security agency Shin Bet that handled the programme, all
al-Jazeera correspondents decided to shun the event.
"We tried to facilitate quick and easy entrance of
foreign reporters into the hall and even sent an announcement
detailing the hours of admission ahead of time," Helman said
in his response.
Shin Bet defended the check, saying "All guests were
subjected to a security check in accordance with the customary
procedures in such events. Three female reporters refused to
be examined and decided not to attend the event".