Israeli Delegation Makes First Historic Visit to Saudi Arabia

For the first time, an Israeli group attended a UNESCO meeting in Riyadh, sparking rumors about possible friendlier relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The five-member team flew to Riyadh on Sunday, having passed through Dubai since direct flights between the two countries do not operate.

Their visas were arranged by UNESCO, the United Nations agency responsible for education, science, and culture. At the meeting, they had a desk with a sign saying “Israel,” catching the attention of many Saudis present.

One Saudi worker commented, “That is God´s command. The issue is bigger than us, and we can´t object to it,” when asked about the Israelis being there.

While there’s no direct political angle to this visit, the rumor mill suggests both countries might be looking to build relations.

Last week, a Palestinian team was in Riyadh, possibly discussing what it would mean if Saudi Arabia and Israel built official relations.

Although Saudi Arabia, home to two sacred Islamic sites, does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, the Kingdom has been making some unexpected diplomatic moves recently.

It is working to diversify its economy, mainly rooted in oil, and to position itself as a global hub for business and tourism. Analyst Aziz Alghashian stated that this shift might be why they are now more open to Israeli interactions.

Alghashian also remarked that while Israelis might see this as a diplomatic victory, it’s UNESCO that made the visit possible, similar to how an Israeli eSports team attended the Gamers8 festival after coordination by global event planners.

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