Israel and Saudi Arabia: No longer enemies but not quite friends


Israel’s longest-serving prime minister pops up on Saudi state-run television from Tel Aviv. An Israeli-American declares himself the “chief rabbi of Saudi Arabia” after arriving on a tourist visa. A prominent Saudi family invests in two Israeli companies and doesn’t bother to hide it.

All these recent events would have been unthinkable not long ago. But previously clandestine links between Saudi Arabia and Israel are increasingly visible as some of the Middle East’s deep-seated rivalries cautiously give way to pragmatic economic and security ties. Saudi crown prince and de facto leader Mohammed bin Salman is seeking to accelerate his plans to overhaul an oil-reliant economy, while Israel is keen to build on 2020’s diplomatic breakthroughs with smaller Gulf nations.

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