Israel Approves Travel to Saudi Arabia For Business, Hajj

The hajj is one of the world's largest religious gatherings

TEL AVIV – In a first, Israelis citizens will now be allowed to travel to Saudi Arabia under limited circumstances relating to religion and business, Israel’s interior ministry announced Sunday. 

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri’s order said that Israeli businesspeople can travel to the Gulf kingdom so long as they have the necessary permissions and invitations from the Saudi side. Muslim citizens of Israel can also travel to Mecca for the hajj and Umrah pilgrimages.

The order will give Israelis a travel permit for up to 90 days.

Until now, Arab Israelis traveled to Mecca via Jordan, using Jordanian papers and without official Israeli permission.

Israeli businessmen in Saudi Arabia were often there on clandestine visits.

Relations between Riyadh and Jerusalem have warmed in recent years, mostly due to Iran as a shared enemy.

In July, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with a delegation of six Arab journalists and bloggers, including Mohammed Saud, a popular Saudi media personality who was attacked by Palestinians for his strong pro-Israel views.



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