Israeli minister Shlomo Karhi says Saudi Arabia visit will bring peace closer

Communications chief is in Riyadh with delegation amid US-brokered efforts to establish diplomatic ties

Israeli Communication Minister Shlomo Karhi prays in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Photo: Israel Ministry of Communications
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Israeli communications minister Shlomo Karhi has appeared in a video promising his official visit to Saudi Arabia will bring peace between the two countries closer.

In a historic moment for diplomacy, an official high-ranking Israeli delegation led by Mr Karhi arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday.

Leading the 14-member delegation, Mr Karhi will participate in the Universal Postal Union in Riyadh on Wednesday.

"We'll bring peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia closer," Mr Karhi says in the video, alongside Knesset member David Bitan, posted on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

In the video, Mr Bitan adds: "Everything starts with small steps."

Mr Karhi, who is an Orthodox Jew, also participated in a small Jewish morning prayer service in his hotel.

The Torah scroll used in the ceremony had a Hebrew dedication to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and "all their ministers and advisers”.

The US has been leading efforts to broker a deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel for months to establish diplomatic relations between the countries for the first time.

In footage released by Qudz news network on X, Mr Karhi performs Talmudic rituals and Sukkot prayers in Riyadh.

Mr Karhi also read from a Torah Scroll and prayed the morning service at his hotel in Riyadh, pictures posted by Israeli publications showed.

He is expected to deliver a speech to his counterparts, televised live for a global audience, and also take part in diplomatic meetings in Riyadh, including with foreign communication ministers.

Mr Karhi is the second Israeli minister to make an official trip to Saudi Arabia after tourism chief Haim Katz.

Mr Katz arrived in Saudi Arabia last week in the highest-level visit by an Israeli official to the kingdom to attend the UN World Tourism Organisation conference in the Saudi capital.

In an interview with Fox News, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said: "Peace with Israel is closer than ever."

Last week, Saudi Arabia sent a delegation to the Israel-occupied West Bank for the first time in three decades to reassure the Palestinians ahead of any prospective agreement.

Prince Mohammed added: “For us, the Palestinian issue is very important. We need to solve that part."

Updated: October 03, 2023, 2:53 PM