(A7) Rabbi Steven Burg, CEO of Jerusalem-based modern Orthodox Jewish group Aish Global, told i24NEWS on Thursday that he believed normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia is just “a matter of time”.
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Rabbi Burg, who recently visited Bahrain and Saudi Arabia with Jewish business leaders, called Saudi Arabia “amazing” and said that he saw a place that was moving forward with the business community wanting to move away from oil and to a better economic situation.
While Riyadh has yet to sign on to the Abraham Accords normalizing relations with Israel, Rabbi Burg said that the people that he spoke with in Saudi Arabia said that it was “only a matter of time” for it to happen.
“It may take a couple of years. It is a conservative society, and they need to move the country forward. But the bottom line is that Iran is everyone’s common issue. They are looking around and saying, ‘Israel really is a place where we can get an economic benefit,'” he told i24NEWS, adding that being openly Jewish and pro-Israel in the Kingdom was not a problem for the group.
“They are very fascinated by what is happening here [in Israel] and they are kind of waiting for us to move forward,” added Rabbi Burg.
Israel has been for years rumored to have behind-the-scenes ties with Saudi Arabia, but the Saudis have vehemently denied those rumors.
Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Saudi Crown Prince reportedly held a secret meeting last November in which they discussed the possibility of normalizing relations between their two countries.
Subsequent reports said the Crown Prince pulled back from a normalization deal with Israel largely because of the US election result. Riyadh denied the meeting had even taken place.
Saudi Arabian officials have repeatedly said that a Palestinian state with eastern Jerusalem as its capital is a prerequisite for Saudi Arabia normalizing ties with Israel.