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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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