Israel’s Press Office apologizes for journalists ‘Bra-Gate’ howlerBy ANI
Friday, January 14, 2011
NEW YORK - The director of Israel’s Government Press Office has apologized for the intensive security screening several journalists had to endure before meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, several members of the foreign press corps had been invited to a cocktail party with personal invitations and press cards, which could have been acquired only after extensive background checks.
At the venue they were told to remove their clothes during screenings conducted by Israel’s Shin Bet security service.
The incident was called “Bra-Gate” by the Jerusalem Post after one Arab-Israeli journalist working for Al Jazeera, was denied entry because she agreed to take off some of her clothes but refused to remove her bra.
Other members of the press were forced to remove their underwear, waiting for as long as 20 minutes in this humiliating situation while security checked their documents.
The Post reported that Oren Helman, the director of Israel’s Government Press Office, apologised for the incident in a letter to the Foreign Press Association.
“I would like to express my regret that journalists left the G.P.O. Annual Cocktail Reception feeling that they were treated in an unbecoming manner by security,” the New York Times quoted him as having written.
“Obviously, we do not invite journalists to an event in order to offend them,” he added.
Helman also said that he would ask the Shin Bet to look into the matter. (ANI)