GUIDANCE

In Normalizing Ties With Israel, Saudi Arabia Will Copy the UAE’s Playbook

MIN READNov 16, 2021 | 21:01 GMT

The flags of Saudi Arabia and Israel are seen outside a meeting at the U.S. State Department in Washington D.C. on Oct. 14, 2021.

The flags of Saudi Arabia and Israel are seen outside a meeting at the U.S. State Department in Washington D.C. on Oct. 14, 2021.

(JONATHAN ERNST/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia will continue building diplomatic ties with Israel, using the covert path toward normalization charted by the United Arab Emirates as a guide -- unlocking business opportunities in key economic sectors like entertainment, sports and culture. Israel normalized ties with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco last year. Since then, many observers have been monitoring Saudi Arabia’s covert relationship with Israel to gauge when, if ever, Riyadh, may follow suit. On Nov. 4, a delegation of U.S. Jewish leaders visited Saudi Arabia, where they met high-ranking royal family members and ministers, according to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. Though the meetings reportedly went well, few signs emerged of imminent normalization between the kingdom and Israel, which would still require the final approval of the former’s 85-year-old King Salman. The slow process is not surprising: the United Arab Emirates’ own normalization process took years, with small signs of...

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