In surprising decision, Saudi English-language daily appoints rabbi as regular columnist

In surprising decision, Saudi English-language daily appoints rabbi as regular columnist

Saudi Arabia’s English-language daily newspaper Arab News has appointed a prominent rabbi as a regular current affairs columnist, as Israel is working behind the scenes towards normalization of diplomatic relations with the Riyadh regime.

According to a report published by the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Marc Schneier, who is an American rabbi and president of the so-called Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, has lately joined the editorial board of the Saudi daily, which is published mainly in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf region.

Last week, a high-ranking official at the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs said Tel Aviv is working clandestinely towards normalization of diplomatic relations with Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.

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“These are the two countries we want to reach an agreement with, but it is a slow process that takes a lot of time and effort. We hope for the best,” the unnamed official noted at a media briefing.

Even though Israel and Saudi Arabia do not have formal diplomatic relations, Riyadh has taken a number of steps in recent years toward normalizing relations with the Tel Aviv regime.

Saudi authorities were said to have given a behind-the-scenes green light to the United Arab Emirates forging ties with Israel last year, and have since allowed Israeli aircraft to use the kingdom’s airspace for direct flights to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. 

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On January 6, an independent nongovernmental organization advocating human rights in Saudi Arabia said the Riyadh regime is making use of arbitrary arrest to silence vociferous opponents of normalization with Israel.

The London-based rights group ALQST said Saudi officials have kept writer and researcher Abdullah al-Yahya behind bars since December 24 last year, after he criticized normalization with the Israeli regime in a series of posts published on Twitter.

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