Israel Apologizes for Reporter Strip Searches

'We didn't mean to offend,' said government press office
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Jan 14, 2011 3:05 AM CST
Al-Jazeera newswoman Najan Simri left an Israeli press event in fury when ordered to remove her bra during a security strip search.   (YouTube)

(Newser) – Israel has apologized to reporters subjected to strip searches before they were allowed into a tony cocktail party press event that they were invited to by ... Israeli officials. Pregnant Palestinian al-Jazeera reporter Najwan Simri Diab stripped off her shirt for a "15-minute groping" but then left in fury when ordered to remove her bra. Several Arab reporters had to remove their underwear during the security searches in what the Jerusalem Post is referring to as "Bra-Gate." They then had to sit for up to 20 "humiliating" minutes before their clothes were returned. All of the reporters held Israeli press credentials which are only granted after extensive background checks, notes the New York Times.

“I would like to express my regret that journalists left the Annual Cocktail Reception feeling that they were treated in an unbecoming manner by security," said a statement from the head of the press office for the Israeli government. "Obviously, we do not invite journalists to an event in order to offend them.” Simri Diab complained that reporters were singled out simply because they were Arab. Another al-Jazeera reporter complained: “As female journalists working in this region we constantly find ourselves putting clothes on to please Hamas and taking them off to please the Israelis.”

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