Photographs and videos posted by a Russian-born Israeli Jew of his visit to a holy site in Saudi Arabia prompted angry comments from Muslim users on social media leading Facebook Inc’s photo-sharing app Instagram to suspend his account, Times of Israel reported on Tuesday.
Ben Tzion, 31, visited mosques in Iran, Lebanon, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and shared photographs and videos of his visits on his social media account, the daily reported.
Photograph posted by Tzion – who describes travelling as a hobby – inside Masjid-i-Nabawi in Madinah was viewed more than 30,000 times, received 3,500 comments and prompted backlash from certain individuals on social media, leading Instagram to suspend his account, according to Times of Israel. The photograph shows Tzion wearing traditional Arab garb, which he says he bought in Jerusalem, and pointing to his name embroidered in Hebrew on his tefillin — a ritual object of Judaism.
In response to the photograph, Muslims protested the presence of a non-Muslim at the holy site. Non-Muslims are barred from visiting Makkah and advised not to enter parts of central Madinah.
According to Times of Israel, some social media users remarked that while Saudi Arabia had barred Qatari’s from entering the country, it “apparently has no quarrel with Israeli Jews”.
The Arabic hashtag “A Zionist at the Prophet’s Mosque” has attracted more than 90,000 tweets in the 24 hours, BBC reported on Tuesday. “The scholars are in prisons and the Zionists are at the Prophet’s Mosque. It is a sad thing,” said one Twitter user in Arabic, BBC said.