Journalist Yotam Feldman, who was detained by Egyptian forces after infiltrating into Egypt, was released back to Israel, Ynet learned Sunday night. Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai who negotiated with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman succeeded in securing Feldman's release.
The journalist boarded a plane from Cairo to Israel following six days in which he was placed under Egyptian custody.
He was arrested last Monday by Egyptian security forces on suspicion of trying to cross the border together with African immigrants while working on a story on refugees infiltrating from the Sinai Peninsula into Israel. He hurt his hand on barbed wire spread along the Israeli-Egyptian border.
Yishai, who also holds the Ministry of Interior portfolio, met with the journalist's father, attorney Avigdor Feldman and immediately contacted Suleiman. The minister asked the intelligence chief's help and noted he was willing to board a plane to Cairo himself in order to release the hostage.
Yishai also coordinated a private telephone conversation between Feldman and Suleiman.
Upon his return, Feldman was asked how he was treated in Egyptian jail: "That depends on which stage. There is a distinction between whites and non-whites. In the first days, when I was with the refugees, the treatment was like the treatment given to the refugees – very violent, very harsh. In the days after that in Cairo, the treatment was good."
Feldman, accompanied by his father, said to Ynet that he feels well and explained that he does not regret what he did because, in his eyes, that is how any journalist must behave.
"I think I did my job. This is what a journalist does; he tells a story of people who are forced to do the most heroic, least probable acts in order to maintain a sense of humanity, of people who run to the borders even when soldiers are shooting at them, even when most of those who are caught are lynched to brink of death," said Feldman.
"I was there. I went through the things they went through. I hope soon to tell the story of what I went through during this week at length. I hope everyone will be able to hear it," concluded Feldman.
Egypt issued a statement announcing the imminent release of Feldman on Sunday night and his return to Israel.
Yishai personally thanked the intelligence chief for the Egyptian gesture, on behalf of the Feldman family as well.
No comment was received from Yishai's office.
Yehonatan Zur and Yaron Brener contributed to this report