Several Israeli journalists planning to cover President Trump’s visit to the Middle East were denied visas to Saudi Arabia and will not be able to board the press plane.
Orly Azoulay, a reporter for the newspaper Yedioth Ahronot, and Gil Tamary of Channel 10 were scheduled to cover Trump’s first overseas visit as Commander-in-Chief, and were approved by the White House to join the press charter plane accompanying the president. But on Wednesday, both were notified that the Saudi embassy had refused to grant them visas to the kingdom, which will be Trump’s first stop. The reason given was their affiliation with Israeli media outlets. Both reporters are U.S. citizens.
Dan Raviv, an American-born reporter in Washington for i24News, a TV channel based in Israel, was also not granted a Saudi visa — despite having been in Saudi Arabia on a past occasion while with CBS News.
“I see it as an act of humiliation aimed at President Trump,” said Azoulay about the Saudi rejection. In 2007, Azoulay joined president George W. Bush on his trip to Saudi Arabia and was granted a visa.
Tamary noted that the Saudi refusal disproves the claim that the Gulf kingdom is warming up to relations with Israel. “Everyone is saying that the Saudis are changing, but when a reporter for an Israeli outlet wants to join the U.S. president’s press corps, he is not allowed on the plane,” he said.
On Wednesday afternoon, Azoulay tweeted at President Trump: “Saudis refused me a visa to come on your trip, b/c I am an Israeli reporter.” She then added: “Take me on AF1!”
The White House has yet to respond to her request.