Israel’s minister of intelligence affairs Yisrael Katz has confirmed to Israeli Haaretz media that he had extended an invitation to Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman to visit Israel as he describes him as the leader of the Arab world.
Saudi Arabia and Israel do not have diplomatic ties but reports say both countries have cooperated secretly in the area of security. Recent events and the announcement by Katz suggest a significant rapprochement between the two countries.
Katz in an interview with Saudi online newspaper Elaph mentioned the invitation but the media choose to edit out the invitation in the online publication.
Katz’s spokesperson, Arye Shalicar, confirmed that the Israeli official extended the invitation to the Saudi Crown Prince also known by the initials MBS.
“He said that he asks the king to invite (Prime Minister Binyamin) Netanyahu officially to Riyadh, and he asks MbS, Mohammed bin Salman, the son, to come and visit Israel,” said Arye Shalicar.
The Israeli intelligence official sees Saudi Arabia as a potential peace broker between Palestine and Israel at the time Muslim leaders rejects the US following President Trump’s last week recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel, a decision they deem biased.
It is not the first time the Saudi media becomes the preferred media for rapprochement between the Sunni kingdom and the Jewish state. Elaph last month published an interview with the Israeli military chief, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot.
The Crown Prince had been rumored to have travelled and met with Israeli top officials. He has also reportedly held a secret meeting with Israelis in 2015, in Eilat and in March this year on the sidelines of the Arab League summit in Jordan.
Riyadh has officially condemned President Trump’s unilateral decision and declared Palestinian rights on Eastern Jerusalem considered as the occupied Palestinian capital.
However, London-based The New Arab citing local Saudi sources notes that the kingdom imposed to media almost a gag order not to focus too much on the White House’s decision. Media bosses were asked to “take aim at Iran and other regional countries” in its coverage rather than focusing on Israel, the media notes.