Saudi Arabia admitted an Israeli journalist for the first time. Orly Azoulay, a U.S.-based correspondent for Yediot Achronot, flew to Riyadh this week as part of a press delegation accompanying U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the Arab League summit. Azoulay wrote Wednesday that Ban, “who is now working to promote the Saudi peace initiative between Israel and the Arab states, wanted to convey a message of conciliation: He believed that if he were to bring together on his plane Arab journalists and an Israeli media representative, he would succeed in partially breaking the ice.” Azoulay, a dual French-Israeli citizen, was the only journalist in Ban’s entourage to whom the Saudis denied a visa. According to Azoulay, she boarded Ban’s plane while U.N. officials were still lobbying Saudi Arabia over the issue. When they landed, a representative of the Saudi Information Ministry who met them had still not been informed of Azoulay’s participation. When he learned of it, the representative told her, “Welcome to Riyadh. Welcome, you have nothing to worry about, we will all watch over you here. You are our guest.”
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