A Saudi blogger in Israel at the invitation of the Foreign Ministry was spat on, cursed and told to “go to a synagogue” during a visit to the Temple Mount and Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday. Video of the shocking treatment was shared on social media.
Mahmoud Saud, a Saudi law student and blogger, is a member of a six-person delegation of journalists from Arab countries currently visiting Israel. Saud is the only member of the delegation willing to go public. Saud has long received attention on Twitter for his pro-Israel views, support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and efforts to speak Hebrew.
While visiting the Temple Mount, Saud was called an “animal,” “normalizer,” “Zionist trash” and a “traitor,” with boys spitting in his face. In one clip, Arab residents of the Old City are seen trailing Saud in the marketplace while throwing plastic chairs and sticks at him.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nizar Amer took to Twitter to “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.”
Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avi Dichter, with whom Saud was photographed, said the other delegation members were enthralled with the Jewish state, with one 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.”
Knesset diplomatic adviser Shai Cohen told the delegation that “we separate between progress on the peace process with the Palestinians and deepening our ties with the moderate Arab world,” and expressed Israel’s interest in forging ties with their home countries.
The journalists and bloggers are scheduled to visit Israeli holy sites, the Knesset and the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial during their stay.
Saud will also reportedly be granted a meeting with Netanyahu.