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First official visit of Israel’s delegation to Saudi Arabia

Israeli Tourism Minister makes historic visit to Saudi Arabia for UN Conference, signaling growing diplomatic relations.

Riyadh, 26 September, 2023(GNP): Israeli Tourism Minister Haim Katz reached Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to attend the United Nations conference. According to Israel’s official authorities, this is the first visit of any Israeli delegation to the Kingdom.

Israeli Ministry of Public Diplomacy also confirmed the news on Twitter. It said that this is the small step today towards the giant leap tomorrow, for them.

Katz plan to visit Saudi Arabia for two days to become a part of an event sponsored by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on September 27.

Tourism serves as a bridge between nations, said Katz. “Tourism industry cooperation has the potential to foster racial harmony and economic development.” He also added, “I will work to advance cooperation, tourism, and the foreign relations of Israel.”

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On the other hand, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed in his address to the UN last Friday that his country was “on the cusp” of a historic agreement with Saudi Arabia.

Whereas the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman stated in the news earlier this week that “every day we get closer” to normalizing relations with Israel. But he also maintained that the Palestinian issue is still a “very important part of the process.

Nine employees from Israel traveled to Saudi Arabia earlier this month to attend the UNESCO World Heritage Committee conference. According to an Israeli source, the trip was led by the director of Israel’s Antiquities Authority and included ambassadors.

Shlomo Karhi, the minister of communications, and David Bitan, the head of the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee, are both slated to go to Saudi Arabia next week, according to reports from state media on Tuesday. Both Karhi and Bitan are Likud party members.

In this context of normalization of bilateral ties between the Israel and Saudi Arabia, the role played by President Biden is significantly noted. The Biden administration pushed its two most important allies to establish a formal relationship.

The Israeli prime minister said to Biden during their discussion on the 78th session of the UN General Assembly, “I think that under your leadership, Mr. President, we can forge a historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia.”

He also added, “I think such a peace would go a long way first to advance the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict, achieve reconciliation between the Islamic world and the Jewish state, and advance a genuine peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This is something within our reach.”