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May 19, 2017 12:03 pm

US-Based Israeli Reporter Calls Saudi Denial of Visa to Cover Trump’s Visit ‘Huge Humiliation’ for White House

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Orly Azoulay. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

An Israeli reporter who was denied a visa to enter Saudi Arabia to cover President Donald Trump’s visit to the desert kingdom this weekend told The Algemeiner she thought the rejection amounted to a “huge humiliation” for the White House.

Orly Azoulay — the Washington bureau chief for Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth — explained that she had initially been approved to travel on the press plane accompanying the president to Saudi Arabia in his first overseas trip since taking office. But at the last minute, Azoulay stated, Saudi officials called the White House and said her visa request had not been approved.

The reporter, a dual Israeli-American citizen, said she believed she was not granted a visa because of her affiliation with Yedioth Ahronoth. 

“It is a snub for the president,” Azoulay said. “I was part of the formal travel press, and that means that the Saudis could select who is coming with the president of the United States. In the past I traveled to Saudi Arabia three times…They were ready to issue me a visa then. But now, maybe they want to send some signal to the White House and the president.”

Azoulay also expressed her outrage in a tweet that she addressed directly to Trump, saying, “Saudis refused me visa to come on your trip because I am an Israeli reporter. Humiliating? Take me on AF1 [Air Force One]!”

She has yet to receive a response from Trump or the White House.

Additionally, she posted a photo of her Saudi visa from 2007, when she visited the kingdom to cover then-President George W. Bush’s trip to the country.

Azoulay was not the only Israeli member of the press denied a visa by Saudi Arabia, where Trump will arrive on Saturday. Gil Tamary of Israel’s Channel 10, and Dan Raviv, an American-born reporter in Washington for the Israel-based i24 News TV channel, were similarly barred.

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  • JossefPerl

    I would be upset if the Saudis denied visa to a real Israeli journalist. Orly Azoulay, denying you a visa to Saudi Arabia is NOT ‘Huge Humiliation’ for White House; not even a small one. Anyone who looked at some of your reporting about the US Presidential election would conclude that you are not only a Trump hater, but a lightweight with a very superficial understanding of American politics and much of your reporting about Trump was basically gossip, focusing on unsubstantiated accusations from women about sexual harassment from years ago etc. A typical reporting from you Orly Azoulay was about the small number of inauguration balls for Trump relative to your hero Obama. Orly Azoulay, if Yedihot Ahronoth cannot find a serious reporter to send to the US that is a shame, but there were enough journalists covering Trump’s trip and no one really missed your silly reporting from there.

  • oceanstater

    The good news here is it undermines the ludicrous notion that there is anything decent about Saudi Arabia. They suppress rights of women, no free press, they are in service to polluting oil, they won’t accept Syrian refugees (doubtless Trump is sympathetic to all of the above) they hate Israel, they spread extreme Wahabi Islam, they sponsor a destructive war in Yemen…. Selling them $110 billion of weapons is a deal with the devil that will cone to haunt us.