Photo Credit: Shalev Shalom/TPS
Issawi Frej, the Minister of Regional Cooperation in the 36th Israeli government. Jun 14, 2021.

Israeli Minister of Regional Cooperation Issawi Frej (Meretz) revealed that there are contacts with Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, regarding the war on Iran, while stressing that the Iranian threat is a global issue.

Frej indicated, in an interview with Al-Hurra channel aired on Monday, that there is “direct contact” and “understandings” with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states regarding the coordination of the conflict against Iran’s threats since this is a matter that does not concern Israel or Saudi Arabia alone, but rather the entire world.

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Israel and Saudi Arabia do not have diplomatic relations, although reports have resurfaced in the past suggesting cooperation against Tehran.

Former Israeli Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) confirmed in November 2017 that Israel is maintaining contacts with Saudi Arabia regarding common interests concerning Iran.

Steinitz’s statement came just days after then IDF’s Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot told the Saudi Elaph news site that Israel is willing to share intelligence with Saudi Arabia, a country that shares Israel’s concerns about Iran.

Asked if Israel has recently shared intelligence with Saudi Arabia, Eizenkot said that “we are prepared to share information if there is a need to do so. There are many shared interests between us and Saudi Arabia.”

In June 2016, Amos Yadlin, then the director of Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, told France24 that cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Israel is taking place under the radar, and that both countries view Iran as a threat.

It was previously reported that the Gulf nation gave Israel approval for its jets to pass through Saudi airspace in the event that it decided to launch an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

In the interview, Freij said that his “dream” is that one day he could travel to Mecca in Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj directly, and he is convinced that “we will see such an opportunity soon.”

Freij also stressed the existence of very strong contacts at all levels with the United Arab Emirates, and there is a “sincere intention” to implement several projects related to oil, solar energy, and the construction of industrial zones.

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed a historic peace agreement with Israel at the White House on September 15, 2020, the first agreement to be signed between Israel and an Arab country in 25 years.

The UAE was the first major Arab state to recognize Israel since the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty was signed in October 1994.

Announced on August 13, 2020, the Abraham Accords is the first between a Gulf state and Israel and is expected to lead to similar agreements with other Arab countries, possibly Saudi Arabia.

Israel and Sudan announced the normalization of ties in October 2020. Morocco joined the Abraham Accords in December.

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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.