Man from the Bedouin town of Rahat was visiting Mecca.
By David Hellerman, World Israel News
An Israeli-Arab from the Bedouin town of Rahat was arrested in Saudi Arabia for praising Israel, Ynet reported on Wednesday.
The man, who was not identified, was visiting Mecca. While looking for a doctor, he was instead sent to a pharmacy whose service dissatisfied him.
His family told Ynet he was arrested after he filmed himself criticizing the service he received at a pharmacy. In the course of his criticism, seen by passersby, he praised Israel.
In the video, seen by Ynet, the man could be heard saying, “I gave my name, my father’s name, everything. I said I wanted to see a doctor, they sent me to a pharmacy. I swear to God that our lives are a blessing in this country, in God’s name. Israel is the greatest country in the world.”
A family member told Ynet, “We’re talking about a man with a disability and diabetes. He was angry because of the service he received when he asked to see a doctor, said a few things and was arrested.”
“Since the arrest, we’ve contacted those responsible, and they told us that his remand was extended. They told us that they’ll release him after the Umrah”, the relative said, referring to an Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca.
“And I hope he really gets released. There are even members of Knesset who got involved and are in touch with the family” the relative added. Ynet didn’t indicate who the Knesset members might be.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Ynet it was not aware of the case. Israel and Saudi Arabia do not have diplomatic relations.
In 2020, the Interior Ministry began allowing Muslim citizens to travel to the kingdom to make the religious pilgrimage. Israel also has an arrangement with Jordan, which provides pilgrims with temporary travel papers.
Around 30,000 Israeli Muslims each year make a pilgrimage to Mecca, Islam’s holiest city.