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Latest chapter unfolds in ‘developing story’ of covert Israeli-Saudi relationship

Jonathan Schanzer
6th November 2017 - Quoted by Sean Savage - Jewish News Service

A flurry of reports involving Israel and Saudi Arabia in recent weeks has increased speculation on the current extent of covert relations between the countries, including with regard to their mutual foe of Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

In late October, Saudi Arabia denied that its officials embarked on a secret diplomatic visit to Israel in September, following reports in Israeli media that a Saudi royal recently traveled to the Jewish state.


Despite al-Faisal’s comments, Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) think tank, said it has been difficult not to notice how public events featuring Israelis and Saudis seem to be taking place more often.

“It’s also hard not to note how Israel and the Gulf states have tempered their tone towards each other over the last year or so. Even the Judo flap in the UAE ended with an apology, which would have been unthinkable a few short years ago,” Schanzer told, referring to the recent international judo tournament in which Israel’s team was forced to compete without national symbols.


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gulf-states, israel, saudi-arabia