Tag: Israel/ S. Arabia

Israeli athletes are singled out for discrimination

At the Olympics, an unique sport is practised against Israeli athletes: antisemitism. Only in the Middle East is the view of Israel one of not just refusal to normalize because of a territorial dispute, but refusal to see the people who live in Israel as people.  Seth Frantzman writes in the Jerusalem Post:  
Saudi Tahani al-Qahtani received backing for facing her Israeli opponent
On July 24, Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine and his coach had their Olympic accreditation withdrawn and were sent home after the athlete refused to face Israel’s Tohar Butbul. A Sudanese judoka also didn’t show up later for a match against the Israeli.
For pro-Palestinian extremists, this is considered a victory and is called withdrawing in “honor” rather than losing or facing an Israeli opponent.
Meanwhile, Saudi athlete Tahani al-Qahtani did face her Israeli opponent, Raz Hershko. Qahtani lost, but she was widely praised in Israeli media and by others and received backing at home in Saudi Arabia.
The treatment of Israeli athletes is unique. No other country in the world has athletes who are so often treated like this due to political or diplomatic disputes between countries.

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Saudi Tweeters downplay importance of Temple Mount

Are we seeing a sea change in relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel? Saudi Tweeters have lately been digging a trench between themselves and the Palestinian cause, which has always tried to rally Muslim opinion to protect the Al-Aqsa mosque on Temple Mount. From the time of the Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, Palestinian leaders have periodically claimed that the mosque has been threatened with  destruction  by the Jews.  Now Saudi users of Twitter are insisting on the primordial importance of Mecca and Medina to Islam. Although this line is not being promoted by the Saudi government, it is clear that the Tweeters are acting with its tacit approval. (With thanks:  Edna, Adrian)

The Temple Mount, neglected and overgrown with weeds in the 1930s, before its protection became a rallying cry for the Palestinian cause.

Saudi Twitter users have recently been pushing a new line of thought that plays up the importance of Muslims praying towards the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, while downplaying the importance of the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, Israel National News(INN) reported Sunday. 

The controversial campaign appears to be designed to push the message emphasizing the importance of the Saudi cities of Mecca and Medina as the holy places of Islam, and to eliminate the importance of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount for Muslims, thereby decreasing any Islamic authority the Palestinians have over the site. 

One of the messages reportedly comes from well-known Saudi cartoonist Fahd al-Jabiri, who tweeted that “the direction of the prayers of the Jews is not important to us, what is important to us is only our homeland.


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US Jewish leaders’ visit to Saudi Arabia ‘a big step forward’

In the two weeks since an important delegation of Jewish leaders visited Saudi Arabia, much has happened. The kingdom has been grappling with the threat of corona virus to  Mecca; today it was announced that Prince Mohammed Bin Salman had tightened his grip on power. But the Conference of Presidents’ visit deserves a mention – the first of its kind:

The heads of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations said Sunday that last week’s visit by a delegation from the US Jewish umbrella group to Saudi Arabia represented a “big step forward” in the kingdom’s warming ties with Israel.

L to R: Malcolm Hoenlein, Arthur Stark and William Daroff

“We just came back from a very important trip to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It was the first such trip we have had to the kingdom and we feel it was very productive. Very encouraging,” said Conference of Presidents chairman Arthur Stark in a press conference in Jerusalem alongside  executive vice president Malcolm Hoenlein and CEO William Daroff.

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US Jews hold first mission to Saudi Arabia in 30 years

A delegation of 30 Jewish American leaders was hosted by senior government officials last week in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for a four-day summit organized by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the first such specifically Jewish delegation to the Sunni Muslim kingdom in nearly three decades, JNS reports.

Malcolm Hoeinlein, head of the delegation (Photo: Flash 90)

The mission to the Saudi Arabia took place just a week after a report that efforts are underway to organize a breakthrough public summit between Israel’s prime minister and Persian Gulf leaders in the coming months. The mission also takes place just two weeks after the rollout of U.S. President Donald Trump’s Peace to Prosperity vision for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians—a plan that is believed to be supported by numerous Gulf States.

“We had an open dialogue. We met with high level officials and raised our concerns,” said Conference chairman Arthur Stark. “They raised their concerns, and we hope and believe that this is a step in a long and productive relationship, that mirrors other visits that we’ve had to Gulf States where the embrace of Israel is clearly already there.”

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