Netanyahu Promises Direct Flights to Mecca

YERUSHALAYIM -
Entry Gate of Mecca on Highway 40, Saudi Arabia. (Rowan5j)

In his latest pitch to Arab Israeli voters, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‏‏ promised on Sunday that when his government achieves normalization with Saudi Arabia, there will be special dividends for them.

“We will have direct flights for Muslim Israeli pilgrims from Tel Aviv to Mecca,” he predicted in an interview with Army Radio.

Former presidential advisor Jared Kushner reiterated last week that diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region are just a matter of time, but the kingdom has so far been reluctant to commit to such a process.

Netanyahu flew to Saudi Arabia in November to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the first publicly reported meeting between the two, though the desired result was not forthcoming. Saudi officials have said a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians must come first.

In the radio interview, Netanyahu also defended the transfer of vaccines to the Palestinians.

“We are one epidemiological unit. We transferred very few vaccines. This is a very important [move] that any responsible government would do,” he said.