Israeli Minister shares optimism after warm reception in Saudi Arabia
"Israel's" Tourism Minister says Saudi Arabia received him and his delegation "beautifully" during the first overt Israeli visit to the kingdom.
In a landmark, first-ever visit, Israeli Tourism Minister Haim Katz arrived Tuesday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, marking a significant step toward normalization between the Israeli occupation and the Kingdom.
Katz, in an interview with Israeli Channel 12, shared his experiences and optimism about the warm reception he received on his visit to the Kingdom.
Katz began by expressing his gratitude for the hospitality he and his delegation encountered upon their arrival in Saudi Arabia. He noted that upon landing, a considerable number of people were present to welcome them.
"We were received very beautifully. We landed this afternoon and there were many people waiting for us," he said.
He highlighted two key events that led to this step toward normalization.
"The first event," Katz explained, "was the selection of the Ministry of Tourism and Israel to be part of the team responsible for determining whether Saudi Arabia will host Expo 2030. This partnership reflects the growing cooperation and shared interests between our nations in the field of tourism."
The second event Katz referred to was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's involvement in the United Nations. After the premier's efforts, Katz said, the Israeli delegation received a notification that entry visas to Saudi Arabia were awaiting them. Katz emphasized the significance of entering Saudi Arabia through the main gate, symbolizing the official nature of their visit.
"There was initially a proposal to enter covertly, but he insisted that if Israel were to visit Saudi Arabia, it would be under the banner of the State of Israel and in an official capacity," the Israeli tourism minister said.
"In light of the warm welcome we received here, I very much hope that Israeli officials, both official and unofficial, will come to Saudi Arabia quickly," the occupation's minister concluded.
Israeli Tourism Minister Haim Katz made the first overt official visit from the Israeli occupation to Saudi Arabia, with his office saying the trip was for a United Nations conference.
"Tourism is a bridge between nations," Katz's office quoted him as saying. "Cooperation in the field of tourism has the potential to bring hearts together, and economic progress."
According to the office, Katz landed in Riyadh on Tuesday to attend the UN conference, with the minister issuing a statement saying he would "act to create cooperation to advance tourism and Israel's foreign relations."
The visit comes after a recent statement by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who admitted that Saudi Arabia was getting closer to normalizing ties with the Israeli occupation in an interview with Fox News.
Saudi Arabia has been seeking US assistance to develop a civilian nuclear program as part of ongoing talks brokered by the US aimed at normalizing relations between Riyadh and "Israel." This intricate arrangement could reshape Middle East geopolitics.
In response to reports that US and Israeli officials were discussing a US-managed uranium enrichment program in Saudi Arabia, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stated that if Iran were to "acquire a nuclear weapon," Saudi Arabia would feel compelled to follow suit.