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Israel Asks Saudi Arabia To Allow Direct Flights for Its Muslim Pilgrims

Israel Asks Saudi Arabia To Allow Direct Flights for Its Muslim Pilgrims

Israel has asked Saudi Arabia to allow direct flights from Tel Aviv for Muslims who visit Mecca for the hajj. Israel’s Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Frej, who is Muslim, made the request on Thursday, days ahead of US President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel and Saudi Arabia. Israel and Saudi Arabia do not have diplomatic relations. Israel reportedly is working on requests for new aviation deals, even as it has already asked the Saudis through third parties to allow Israeli flights to travel through Saudi airspace on the way to Asia. Since Israel’s signing of the Abraham Accords with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, Riyadh has allowed Israeli planes to pass over Saudi Arabia on the way to those states. Currently, Muslim pilgrims from Israel have to travel to Saudi Arabia through a third country, adding time and expense to the trip. “I want to see the day when I can depart from Ben-Gurion (airport) to Jeddah to fulfill my religious obligation” of pilgrimage to Mecca, Frej told Israel’s Army Radio on Thursday.

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