The Government Press Office apologized Friday for an incident in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's guards ordered a pregnant Arab newswoman to remove her bra and told other reporters to strip to their underwear, AFP reported.
The report says Israel's GPO expressed "regret" for the humiliating search. "I want to express my regret over the fact that journalists left the GPO's annual reception with the feeling that they received improper treatment by guards," Director Oren Hellman said.
The incident occurred Tuesday, as journalists tried to enter a five-star hotel in Jerusalem for the premier's annual reception for the foreign press, prompting some to walk out rather than face humiliating and invasive searches.
Najwan Simri Diab, an Arab-Israeli reporter and producer who works for Al-Jazeera television, said that a female security agent asked her to take off her coat and shirt, and finally her bra.
"I am in the fourth month of pregnancy and I asked them not to use the metal detector on me but they took no notice," she told AFP. When they told her to remove her bra, she said she refused and was barred from entering.
Simri Diab told Ynet in an interview later that she had been deeply shocked. "I was left with just my undershirt and trousers, and no shoes. The security guard examined the bra under my undershirt. She asked me to take the bra off too. A spokesperson from the office saw me in my undershirt and asked what was going on. When I told him what happened, he said, 'Don't create a drama.'"
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