Israeli security forces have barred a pregnant Arab journalist from attending Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s press conference after she refused to undress.
Al-Jazeera producer and reporter Najwan Simri Diab said on Wednesday that after enduring a series of extensive inspections, the Shin Bet officials urged her to remove her underwear for more security checks.
"They asked me to take off my coat and then my vest. I did. Then they asked me to take off my shirt. I took a deep breath and did it. I was left with just my undershirt and trousers, without my shoes and the rest of my equipment. But the extensive check did not end there and they ask me to remove my bra too," Simri Diab said, adding that she is still shocked by the incident.
"After she examined the bra under my undershirt, she asked me to take it off as well. I asked why, but she insisted. Her supervisor came over later and insisted as well. I refused, and she said, ‘Everyone removed it and so will you.’ I said, ‘I’m not taking it off even if I can’t go in.’ And she said, ‘So you won’t go in."
"I got the feeling that even if I had arrived in a bikini, they would have asked me to remove it," she told Ynet.
According to Simri Diab, Israeli security officials had divided the journalists into two groups: Arabs and non-Arabs. She said Israeli officers treated Arab journalists like enemies and tried to humiliate them.
Another al-Jazeera reporter was also denied entry to Israeli prime minister’s meeting with foreign journalists after he refused to remove his trousers.
Shin Bet, however, claimed that al-Jazeera reporters were barred from attending the event after they refused to be checked.
Other journalists, including Turkish correspondents, who were eventually let inside the hall, also complained about Israel’s extremely meticulous and humiliating inspections.