Israeli minister reveals that his country has “covert contact” with Saudi Arabia

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz

Israel’s energy minister has revealed that his country has “covert contact” with Saudi Arabia amid common concerns over Iran, a first disclosure of its type by a senior Israeli official.

In an interview on Army Radio, Yuval Steinitz, was asked why Israel was hiding its ties with Saudi Arabia, which does not have “official” diplomatic ties with Israel.

Steinitz replied: “We have ties that are indeed partly covert with many Muslim and Arab countries, and usually (we are) the party that is not ashamed.

“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, and there is much more … (but) we keep it secret.”

The Saudi government had no immediate response to Steinitz’s remarks.

Similarly, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has also not responded to energy minister’s revelation.

Last week, the Israeli military’s chief of staff, Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot gave an unprecedented interview with Saudi-owned newspaper Elaf.

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It marked the first time that any senior Israel Army officer, let alone the chief of staff, has been interviewed by a media organisation in Saudi Arabia.

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