Israel asks Saudis to let Mecca pilgrims fly in from Tel Aviv | News

Israeli official asks Saudi Arabia to confess direct flights from Tel Aviv for Muslim pilgrims forward of US President Joe Biden’s go to to the dominion.

Israel’s regional cooperation minister says that he has requested Saudi Arabia to confess direct flights from Tel Aviv for Muslim pilgrims to carry out the Hajj, pointing to a doable new lodging by Riyadh forward of subsequent week’s go to by US President Joe Biden.

Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Freij on Thursday stated Israel has been working to carry what he deemed as “under-the-counter” contacts between the international locations – based mostly totally on industrial pursuits and shared worries about Iran – extra into the open.

“I wish to see the day once I can depart from Ben-Gurion [airport] to Jeddah to fulfil my spiritual obligation” of pilgrimage to Mecca, stated Freij, a member of Israel’s 18 p.c Muslim minority.

“I took this matter up with Saudi Arabia and I actually hope that day will come,” he informed Israel’s Military Radio, with out increasing on the place or when such discussions passed off.

Saudi Arabia has lengthy admitted Muslim pilgrims from Israel however they have to journey by third international locations. That finally ends up costing roughly $11,500 for a week-long keep, Freij stated. Pilgrims from neighbouring Arab international locations pay round half that.

Israeli officers have additionally sought expanded permission for Israeli airways to fly over Saudi territory to Asian locations.

Saudi Arabia doesn’t recognise Israel and has stated nothing of doable bilateral developments throughout Biden’s go to. Israel has additionally shied from drawing such hyperlinks.

However an individual in Washington who was accustomed to the matter stated the brand new aviation offers sought by Israel could possibly be introduced across the time of Biden’s go to however that particulars nonetheless wanted to be labored out and might not be accomplished in time.


When the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain established relations with Israel in 2020, Riyadh signalled its assent by offering a Saudi air hall for Israeli planes headed to these Gulf states.

“We’re in talks on getting common [Saudi] over-flight rights for locations apart from Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Manama. This can save vital occasions for reaching Asian locations, for instance,” an Israeli official informed the Reuters information company.

Individually, an Israeli every day newspaper reported that an adviser to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stated that the opportunity of holding a gathering between Saudi, American and Israeli officers was being thought of throughout Biden’s go to to the dominion subsequent week.

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