STRANGE BEDFELLOWS: Top-level Israeli delegation ‘visited Riyadh, Saudi Arabia secretly’
Visit including senior Israeli figure took place several weeks ago, says TV report. Fear of Iran creating Sunni-Jewish bond.
A top-level Israeli delegation that included a senior political figure visited Saudi Arabia a few weeks ago, according to Channel 10.
The channel’s Arab affairs expert, Tzvi Yehezkeli, said that he cannot reveal everything that he knows about the visit due to military censorship, and that there have been additional visits, which he cannot report about for similar reasons.
The matter is sensitive, he explained, but under their new king, Salman, the Saudis are more open about the contacts with Israel. The Gulf states, he added, need Israel because both are facing a common problem as Iran grows stronger following the nuclear deal it signed – and because the US is no longer a meaningful presence in the region.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud) said in mid-February at the Munich Security Conference in Germany that Israel was carrying outsecret contacts with Arab countries in the Persian Gulf.
Ya’alon’s said in his speech that Israel has channels of communication with neighboring Sunni Arab countries. “Not only Jordan and Egypt,” he elaborated. “I speak about the Gulf states and North African states too. Unfortunately, they are not here to listen. For them, Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood are the enemy…. Iran is the bad guy for us and for the Sunni regimes. They are not shaking hands [with Israelis] in public, but we meet in closed rooms.”
After Ya’alon spoke, Saudi Prince
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