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Israel Waits For Saudi Approval To Fly Direct To Hajj

By 05/08/2023 3:35 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

Israel hopes Saudi Arabia will let its Muslim residents fly directly to Mecca for the Hajj pilgrimage.

Another step toward normalizing relations between the two countries would be Saudi approval of direct flights, which is currently being considered.

Israel has asked for the flights and is expecting a response from Riyadh.

This subject is being discussed.

In an interview with Army Radio last week, foreign minister Eli Cohen remarked, “I cannot tell you whether there has been any development. But despite that, I am hopeful that we can advance the peace process with Saudi Arabia.

Israeli officials warned that the approval could be granted at the last minute, right before the pilgrimage’s start on June 26 through July 1. Since July 2022, Saudi Arabia has let Israeli airlines fly across its territory.

Muslims make up about 18% of Israelis.

A representative for the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem declined to respond to a request for comment.

Arab Israelis making the pilgrimage must pass through third nations like Jordan to reach Saudi Arabia, adding to their travel costs.

Each year, over 6,000 Israelis perform the Hajj.

Former Prime Minister Yair Lapid had claimed to have gotten Riyadh’s approval for the flights in principle.

Officials in the Biden administration had also foreseen the scheduling of similar trips last year.

However, since relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia are tense, Riyadh has yet to make this clarification.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, has frequently expressed the desire to strike a historic peace agreement with Saudi Arabia.


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