Two Saudi Arabian tourists, clad in their traditional clothes, walk besides a shop that sells Lebanese gadgets in the market of Zahle village in the Bekaa valley in east Lebanon..
(photo credit: REUTERS/JAMAL SAIDI)
Saudi pundits tweeted up a storm in defense of Israel over the last few weeks, with journalists and academics piping up with pro-Israel perspectives.
A top Saudi Arabian economist thinks once peace is achieved, Israel will become a major tourist destination for adventurous Saudis.
In a Tweet on Friday, Hamza AlSalem, assistant professor at the College of Business Administration at Prince Sultan University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, said, "I expect that if peace were made with Israel and the visa and entering and exiting process were made easy, it [Israel] would become the top tourist destination for Saudis. It is one of God's most beautiful countries in terms of its nature and development. It has combined the spirit of the beauty of the east and west, old and new civilizations. When we have made peace with Israel, exploitation of it will become nonexistent. The government will not accept inciting against it."
Al Salem received his PhD in economics from Clark University in Worcester, MA, USA, in 2005.
Saud Fozan, journalist for AlSharq.net, tweeted in late October, "I am not here to defend the Jews, i.e. the Israelis, but truth be told... show me one Israeli who killed a single Saudi, and in return I can list 1000 Saudis who murdered their own kin with explosive belts by joining Al Qaida and ISIS."
Another Saudi journalist, Mohammed Al Shaikh who writes for al-Jazirah, tweeted, "Yes, Iran is our top enemy, not Israel. My country is being targeted by the Persians. Only a fool and a real jack*ss would think our love for Palestine would come at the expense of our own nation."
The tweets were collected and translated by Al Jazeera journalist Saad Abedine
on his own Twitter account.
Earlier this month, Secretary General of the Muslim World League Dr. Muhammad Abdul-Kareem al-Issa, a former Saudi justice minister, and Khalid bin Mohammed Al Angari, a former Saudi education minister who currently serves as Riyadh’s ambassador to France, visited a Paris synagogue
in a possible nod to Israel.
Their visit came amid reports of growing ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and just a few days after IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot gave an interview to a London-based Saudi newspaper in which he said that Israel would be prepared to share intelligence on Iran
with the kingdom.
In addition, Likud Minister Yuval Steinitz – a member of the security cabinet – revealed that Israel had covert ties with the Saudis.
“We have ties that are indeed partly covert with many Muslim and Arab countries, and usually [we are] the party that is not ashamed,” Steinitz said. “It’s the other side that is interested in keeping the ties quiet. With us, usually, there is no problem, but we respect the other side’s wish, when ties are developing – whether it’s with Saudi Arabia or with other Arab countries or other Muslim countries.” Yaakov Katz contributed to this report.