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article imageIsraeli PM security detail forces the press to undress

By Sam Halaby     Jul 22, 2011 in World
Jerusalem - For the second time this year, an Israeli NPO representing journalists expressed outrage after female reporters were “humiliated” by being requested to remove their bras for security checks at the Israeli prime minister’s office.
The Foreign Press Association (FPA) released a statement yesterday condemning the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying that security officials forced three female journalists to remove clothing before press events, and place their bras through an X-ray machine in front of their colleagues.
The statement, which referred to three separate incidents over two days, called the treatment “unnecessary, humiliating, and counterproductive”, which they say only occurs at the Israeli prime minister’s office.
Agence France-Presse (AFP) reporter Sara Hussein said in a complaint that she had never received such treatment from covering presidents at the White House. The other two reporters did not wish to be identified as they were deeply distressed. Government Press Office director Oren Hellman assured the AFP that this was not their policy, and that such security checks are “offensive and damaging to the State of Israel”.
The Israeli prime minister’s office refused to comment, saying they were aware of the situation and investigating the matter.
Al Jazeera’s Najwan Simri Diab endured a similar incident earlier this year. The Arab Israeli news producer refused to remove her bra when asked by Israel’s Shin Bet during an annual event in January, between the Israeli prime minister’s office and members of the media.
Simri Diab, who was pregnant at the time, had attended the event six years in a row. Hellman later “expressed regret” for the incident.
Last year Atta Awisat, an Israeli photographer with Yedioth Ahronoth was strip-searched during an event held at the residence of Israeli President Shimon Peres, who later personally apologized for the security check.
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