By Sumayyah Meehan, MMNS Middle East Correspondent
An uproar has exploded within the borders of Kuwait this Ramadan and it all has to do with an Israeli journalist that somehow managed to sneak into the country. Kuwait has long since banned all Israelis, and by extension Jews in general, from entering the tiny Gulf nation over its continued occupation and aggression against Palestinians. Even commercial products such as foodstuffs and other consumer goods manufactured in Israel are banned from being imported into Kuwait as well as several GCC nations.
So how did the Israeli journalist enter Kuwait? That question has got many a politician scratching his head, tugging on his beard and demanding answers. Some Kuwaiti MPâ€™s are in total denial simply stating that the Israeli journalist is lying and must have learned about Kuwait online and fabricated the story. Others are not so sure since the journalist has specific information, cited in his article, that could only be known to someone who had seen Kuwait up close and personal.
The infiltrator in question is none other than Eldad Beck, who is a Haifa- born Israeli citizen and journalist for the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.
A local Kuwait newspaper managed to track him down at his home in Berlin and got information regarding his visit to Kuwait over the phone. According to Beck, he spent ten days in Kuwait and was able to elude authorities by entering Kuwait using his German passport.
He met with several high-ranking Kuwaiti officials who apparently did not know that he was an Israeli. Beck does confirm that one Kuwaiti MP he met did figure it out, but kept his Israeli nationality under wraps as an act of goodwill.
The reason for his visit remains unclear, although Beck did reveal during the phone interview that he was interested in â€œâ€¦Kuwaitâ€™s domestic situation since the majority of the Gulf States share a similar concern with Israel regarding the Iranian nuclear threat.â€ Beck went on to praise the â€œsimplicityâ€ of the Kuwaiti people and the hospitality that he was met with during his visit. He also noted that his stealthy visit was merely his duty as a global journalist entrusted with reporting the news, â€œIâ€™m an Israeli-European journalist who lives in Europe, and I visited Kuwait as part of my job in order to provide people in Europe and Israel with insight into whatâ€™s going on in that state and other Middle Eastern countries.â€
This is not the first time that Beck has traveled throughout the Muslim world unnoticed. His past visits have included Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Qatar, Pakistan, and Afghanistan with his German passport in tow and Israeli nationality safely hidden. Beck has documented his travels in several special series published in the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper and has penned a book called Behind the Border (2009) where he shares the stories of his travels.
Quite notably, Beck is quick to blame some Muslim nations for not granting Israelis safe passage within their borders, however he does not hold his own country accountable for atrocities committed against Palestinians and the region as a whole.
His intentions, at least on the surface, may be in good faith. However, that is not how the Kuwait populous is seeing it. In many circles, the commentary ranges from feelings of lapses in governmental security and a feeling of being â€œinvadedâ€ all over again by an enemy that can seemingly slip through the cracks unnoticed. Regardless of his reasoning, Beck has created a mini-chasm of mistrust within Kuwait and local authorities promise to file charges against anyone that helped Beck during his covert mission.