situation report

Saudi Arabia: Riyadh Closes Loophole Allowing Israeli Muslims to Visit for Hajj

1 MIN READNov 7, 2018 | 20:32 GMT

What Happened: Israel's Muslim citizens will no longer be allowed to use temporary Jordanian passports to enter Saudi Arabia for the annual hajj in December, Haaretz reported Nov. 7. The new rule will affect 1 million Muslims living in Israel that were permitted to travel to Saudi Arabia even though Israel does not have diplomatic relations with Riyadh.

Why It Matters: This announcement could be a precursor to Saudi Arabia exploring the option of allowing Israeli Muslims to visit the kingdom on their Israeli passports for the first time. Such a decision would be a significant change in Saudi Arabia's relations with Israel and a notable step toward formal recognition.

Background: Israel has no official diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia, and Israel has been the target of propaganda in the region for decades. However, this dynamic is rapidly changing as low-level ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel are steadily increasing.

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