Jerusalem is looking to build on its 2020 Washington-brokered peace deals with 4 Muslim nations by establishing diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.
By Erin Viner
This, according to Israeli Foreign Minister and Alternate Premier Yair Lapid during an interview on Army Radio.
“If you’re asking me what the important countries that we’re looking at are, Indonesia is one of them, Saudi Arabia of course, but these things take time,” he said.
Saudi Arabia is home to Islam’s holiest two sites, while Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population. Both countries have previously conditioned any eventual normalization with the Jewish State on response to the Palestinian quest for statehood on territory captured by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War.
Jerusalem’s top diplomat revealed that “smaller countries” he did not identify could normalize ties relations with Israel in the coming 2 years.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog announced an official state visit on 30-31 January to the United Arab Emirates, the first country to normalize ties with Israel as part of the Abraham Accords. Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco soon followed suit.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was aboard a plane flown by the national El Al Israel Airlines carrier through Saudi airspace when he visited Abu Dhabi last month. Despite the absence of official ties, Saudi Arabia agreed in 2020 to allow Israel-UAE flights to cross its territory.
A covert visit to Saudi Arabia in November 2020 by then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was confirmed by Israeli officials but publicly denied by the Kingdom. Both Jerusalem and Riyadh share concern over their common enemy, the Islamic Republic of Iran.