Israeli journalist returns from Egypt

Feldman was detained after attempting to infiltrate Israel with refugees.

March 22, 2010 07:55
1 minute read.
Egyptian tourism soldiers sit on their camels as t

Egyptian tourism soldiers. (photo credit: AP)

Israeli journalist Yotam Feldman, who was detained by the Egyptian military a week ago, was released to Israel overnight Sunday.

Feldman, 30, was questioned by the military prosecutor's office in Egypt after he tried to infiltrate the Sinai border with a Ghanaian migrant in an effort to gain first-hand experience on the plight of African refugees attempting to find safe haven in Israel.

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Feldman, an employee of Channel 10 and Haaretz, said upon landing that he did not regret his actions, since he claimed his actions were necessary for completing his story.

Channel 10 made extensive efforts with Israeli and Egyptian army and diplomatic officials in the past week to bring Feldman home safely as quickly as possible.

Feldman said he was treated roughly while he was held with the refugees, but received better treatment in Cairo. He said the Egyptians make a distinction in their treatment of white people and their treatment of Africans. 

Feldman's hand was lightly wounded due to "the brutality of the Egyptian soldiers" and not, as had been reported, while trying to cross a barbed wire fence, he told Army Radio in an interview Monday morning. He said he had been treated before being transferred back to security officials.

Feldman was carrying no identification papers or money, an Egyptian security official said.

In 2005, Feldman got his first scoop when he flew to Burma on his own initiative to cover the Buddhist uprising there. He was detained by the military regime and deported. However, he managed to smuggle photos of the uprising back, and his story received much media attention in Israel.

A former colleague who worked with Feldman for two years at Haaretz said the reporter was “willing to go to great lengths to write about issues close to his heart, such as African refugees in Israel.”

The colleague added that he wasn’t surprised to hear about Feldman’s arrest.

“Yotam was always a very ambitious journalist who’s willing to take risks to get a story,” the colleague said.

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