Reporter feels mob's hate in the Holy City
The ABC's Middle East correspondent Anne Barker became caught in violent street protests involving ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem at the weekend. This is her graphic account of her ordeal.
As a journalist I've covered more than my share of protests. Political protests in Canberra. Unions protesting for better conditions. Angry, loud protests against governments, or against perceived abuses of human rights.
I've been at violent rallies in East Timor. I've had rocks and metal darts thrown my way. I've come up against riot police.
But I have to admit no protest - indeed no story in my career - has distressed me in the way I was distressed at a protest in Jerusalem on Saturday involving several hundred ultra-Orthodox Jews.
Spit like rain
I found myself herded against a brick wall as they kept on spitting - on my face, my hair, my clothes, my arms.
It was like rain, coming at me from all directions - hitting my recorder, my bag, my shoes, even my glasses.
Big gobs of spit landed on me like heavy raindrops. I could even smell it as it fell on my face.
Somewhere behind me - I didn't see him - a man on a stairway either kicked me in the head or knocked something heavy against me.
I wasn't even sure why the mob was angry with me. Was it because I was a journalist? Or a woman? Because I wasn't Jewish in an Orthodox area? Was I not dressed conservatively enough?
Normally I should have stayed on the sidelines to watch the protest develop.
But when you've suffered the humiliation and degradation of being spat on so many times - and you're covered in other people's spit - it's not easy to put it to the back of your mind and get on with the job.
I left down a side street and walked the long way back to the car, struggling to hold back the tears.