Israel to Saudi Arabia on National Day: Mazal Tov

Saudi National Day is celebrated in the kingdom on September 23 to commemorate the renaming of the Kingdom of Nejd and Hejaz to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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September 24, 2019 00:52
3 minute read.
Muslims pray at the Grand Mosque during the annual Haj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi A

Muslims pray at the Grand Mosque during the annual Haj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia August 6, 2019. (photo credit: UMIT BEKTAS / REUTERS)

It’s routine for Israel to send congratulatory wishes to countries around the world on the occasion of their national days of independence. It’s not routine to send those messages to Saudi Arabia.

On Monday, amid concerns of a regional war between Iran and Saudi Arabia after the recent attack on the Saudi oil facilities, the Foreign Ministry’s Arabic Twitter account wished Saudi Arabia peace and prosperity.

“We congratulate the Saudi people on their 89th National Day,” the ministry’s @IsraelArabic account tweeted. “May God reward you with blessings of security, safety, peace, cooperation and good neighborliness.”


“We congratulate the Saudi people on their 89th National Day,” the ministry’s @IsraelArabic account tweeted. “May God reward you with blessings of security, safety, peace, cooperation and good neighborliness.”


Another ministry account, @IsraelintheGulf, read: “We sincerely congratulate the Saudi people on the occasion of the National Day of the Kingdom. We ask God to keep you safe and secure, and wish you more prosperity.”

Both accounts posted a short musical video featuring green birthday cakes decorated with the Saudi flag.



Both accounts posted a short musical video featuring green birthday cakes decorated with the Saudi flag.

Saudi National Day is celebrated in the kingdom on September 23 to commemorate the renaming of the Kingdom of Nejd and Hejaz to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by royal decree from King Ibn Saud, the first monarch and founder of modern Saudi Arabia. This is the first time Israel has used the opportunity to send good wishes to the kingdom since it established Saudi Arabia National Day in 2007.

One diplomatic official, who warned against “reading too much into this,” said the tweets fall within the realm of “public diplomacy – good wishes to the people, not to the government. This is not something that was sent in a formal letter – this is turning directly to the people, in the realm of people-to-people ties.”

Some 20 hours after the tweets were posted, they garnered together some 1,440 likes, 625 retweets and 1,300 comments.

Comments ranged from one post of a video of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman saying Israel has the right to exist, to tweets such as “We do not want you to congratulate [us], and we do not want peace, and you will see who we are in the near future.”

One Twitter user said the Foreign Ministry tweet is an Israeli attempt to “make the Arab people hate us.”

In January, the Foreign Ministry re-started its Twitter account directed toward users in the Persian Gulf countries – which it has described as a “virtual embassy” – after it laid dormant for more than four years. The move was seen as reflecting a new breeze blowing between Israel and at least some of the countries comprising the Gulf Cooperation Council.

That Twitter account currently has more than 24,000 followers, up from 7,626 just after it was launched. The @IsraelArabic account, which describes itself as a resource of information on the State of Israel in Arabic, has some 254,000 followers.


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