Saudi ex-spy chief 'hopes to visit Tel Aviv'
Saudi ex-spy chief Prince Turki al-Faisal al-Saud met with an Israeli diplomatic correspondent, telling him during a friendly chat that he eventually wants to visit Tel Aviv.
Al-Faisal, also a Saudi royal, met with Israeli journalist Barak Ravid for an upcoming documentary on Gulf Arab and Israeli relations, where they publicly exchanged pleasantries.
“I used to speak to Arabic much better years ago, but I have forgotten,” Ravid told al-Faisal.
After demonstrating his Arabic, al-Faisal jokingly recommended that Ravid marries an Arab woman.
Ravid had also prospectively invited al-Faisal to Tel Aviv, saying he hopes he, as a Saudi citizen, will be able to visit Israel at some point, to which al-Faisal replied with “I hope so, you can host me.”
Al-Faisal also spoke of his plans to go to King Faisal Street in Jerusalem, which he wants to "visit immediately" when he "goes to Israel."
King Faisal Street is located in East Jerusalem, which is internationally recognised as occupied Palestinian territory.
With the exception of Egypt and Jordan, who have signed treaties with Israel, no other Arab state has official direct relations with Tel Aviv.
Recent months have seen reports of increasing ties between Israel and the Gulf states. Netanyahu visited Oman in October 2018 and Israeli ministers visited the UAE in November that year. Behind the scenes cooperation between Tel Aviv and Riyadh is an open secret.
Although Riyadh denies warming behind-the-scenes relations with Israel, Saudi leaders have made several public gestures towards Israel in recent months.
Both countries see Iran as their biggest outside threat and the US as their key ally. But the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has long proved an obstacle to official relations.
Barak Ravid is part of Israel's Channel 13 News, which has broadcasted a series of reports detailing Saudi-Israeli and Emirati-Israeli ties in recent days.