After the unprecedented interview given by Israel’s Chief of Staff Gen Gadi Eisenkot to Saudi news outlet Elaph, in which he said that the two countries could unite to counter Iran’s influence in the region, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said his country has had covert contacts with Saudi Arabia.
In an interview on Army Radio, Steinitz did not characterize the contacts or give details when asked why Israel was hiding its ties with Saudi Arabia.
“We have ties that are indeed partly covert with many Muslim and Arab countries, and usually we are the party that is not ashamed,” he stated.
“It’s the other side that is interested in keeping the ties quiet. With us, usually, there is no problem, but we respect the other side’s wish, when ties are developing, whether it’s with Saudi Arabia or with other Arab countries or other Muslim countries, and there is much more … still, we keep it secret,” the Israeli cabinet member said.
Saudi Arabia has ratcheted up pressure on Iran, accusing Tehran of trying to expand its influence in Arab countries, often through proxies including the Lebanese Shia Hezbollah group.