29 May 2024
Saturday 25 November 2017 - 12:11
Story Code : 284354

Two top Saudi officials visit Paris synagogue: Israeli media

Press TV - Two senior Saudi Arabian officials, both of whom formerly served as government ministers, have reportedly visited a synagogue in the French capital in what Israeli media have depicted as a historic first.

Israelidaily The Jerusalem Postreported on Thursday that Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Issa, who is the head of a Saudi government-funded organization and a former justice minister, and Saudi Ambassador to France Khalid bin Mohammed al-Angari, an ex-education minister, had made their visit to the grand synagogue of Paris this week.

Issa is also an official adviser to the royal court in Riyadh and to the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.


The visit came amid numerous reports suggesting growing ties between Tel Aviv and Riyadh.The two sides have no diplomatic relations but are known to be in secret contact.

While there have been many reports of those secret ties, individual instances of Saudi overtures to the Israeli regime are often depicted as singular and surprising incidents.

The two Saudi officials who visited the Paris synagogue were hosted by Frances chief rabbi, Haim Korsia, and the synagogues rabbi, Moshe Sebbag. Sebbag expressed surprise over the visit.

This was very exciting. This was their first time in a synagogue, and I was frankly surprised that they came, he said.

Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Israeli regime hadsecret but fruitful cooperation with Arab governments, noting that peace between his regime and Arab capitals would happen in the end.

Earlier this month, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said that Israel had covert ties with Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries.

His comments came one day after Israeli minister of military affairs Avigdor Liebermancalled on Arab states to befriend Israel and team up against Iran.

On November 16, Chief of Staff of Israeli military, Lieutenant General Gadi Eizenkot, said Tel Aviv was ready to share intelligence with Saudi Arabia in their joint efforts to confront Iran.

He said that in a first ever interview by an Israeli military official with a Saudi media outlet.

On November 14, Lebanonsal-Akhbarnewspaper published a secret undated letter from Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in whichJubeir putforward a plan to normalize ties with Israel despite risks of a public backlash.

Back in September, reports emerged about a secret visit by bin Salman toIsrael, where he held consultations with senior Israeli officials over regional peace. However, an official source at the Saudi Foreign Ministry denied the news.

Israeli man visits holy Muslim sites

Earlier this week,Israeli blogger Ben Tzion claimed he had made secret visits to holy Muslim sites in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Lebanon, and Jordan. He reportedly holds a Russian passport.

He posted photos of himself inside the al-Masjid an-Nabawi in Medina, Saudi Arabia, in which he can be seen pointing to his name written in Hebrew.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="555"] The photo shows Israeli blogger Ben Tzion pointing to his name in Hebrew inside the al-Masjid an-Nabawi in Medina, Saudi Arabia.[/caption]
Observers say the increasingly public but informal contactbetween Israeli and Saudi officials, such as the synagogue visit, are attempts to test the waters before Riyadh and Tel Aviv potentially declare open relations.

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