Western Wall Employee Denies Entrance to Arab TV Journalist

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The parents of terror victim Hallel Yaffo Ariel before their visit to the Temple Mount on Tuesday.
The parents of terror victim Hallel Yaffo Ariel before their visit to the Temple Mount on Tuesday.Credit: Emil Salman

A Channel 10 television journalist was denied access to the Western Wall plaza in Jerusalem on Tuesday on the grounds that he was an Arab.

Rabbi of the Western Wall Shmuel Rabinowitz later apologized for the incident, saying that the employee of The Western Wall Heritage Foundation responsible for barring the journalist had been suspended.

The Channel 10 team at the scene said that they had been threatened by another worker and warned not to publicize the incident.

Cameraman Nader Bagdasar and journalist Omri Maniv arrived at the Western Wall on Tuesday morning to cover the Temple Mount visit of the family of Hallel Yaffa Ariel, a teenager killed in a terrorist attack in Kiryat Arba two weeks ago.

"When we got to the entrance [the official] heard an accent and asked for his name," Maniv said. "When he heard 'Nader,' he asked whether he was Arab. Nader said he was. There was silence for about 20 seconds and then the employee said 'no entry to Arabs.'"

When Maniv requested a comment from officials, an assistant of the Western Wall's rabbi said that they would never again get assistance from the rabbi's bureau if they published an account of the incident.

"The rabbi's assistant told me: 'Remember that yesterday you phoned me at 9:30 PM and I answered you? I didn't have to. And if you publish the story I won't anymore."

In a letter sent to Channel 10 News head Golan Yochpaz about two hours after the incident, Rabinowitz and Foundation CEO Solly Rabinowitz apologized and announced the suspension of the employee concerned.

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