(Web Desk) – Israeli media reports suggest the regime’s military chief Gadi Eizenkot has held talks with his Saudi counterpart, major General Fayyad bin Hamid Raqed al-Ruwaili, in Washington as Tel Aviv moves to make its secret ties with Persian Gulf Arab governments public.
Israel’s Kan public broadcaster reported that the two sides had discussed several regional issues, including Iran, during their meeting that took place on the sidelines of the Counter–Violent Extremist Organizations conference for military commanders, in the US on Tuesday.
In addition to Ruwaili, Eizenkot also met with his counterparts from several Arab states on the sidelines of the same event without mentioning which countries they were, the report added.
The meeting between Eizenkot and Ruwaili was the first publicized talks between the two military chiefs.
After his first participation in the event, Eizenkot made a rare interview with the Saudi-owned Elaph online newspaper last November, during which he expressed Tel Aviv’s readiness to share intelligence with Riyadh to help boost their joint efforts to confront Tehran.
“We are ready to exchange experiences with Saudi Arabia and other moderate Arab countries and exchange intelligence to confront Iran,” he said, adding, “There are many shared interests between us and Saudi Arabia.”
Israel and Saudi Arabia have no diplomatic relations, but are widely believed to have secret liaisons. Based on latest reports, the two regimes are even working behind the scenes to establish formal contact.
Critics say Saudi Arabia’s flirtation with Israel would undermine global efforts to isolate Tel Aviv and harm the Palestinian cause.
They say Riyadh has gone too far in its cooperation with Tel Aviv as a way of deterring Tehran as a regional rival.
In April, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in an interview with the TIME magazine that the two regimes had “a common enemy” and that they could immediately normalize their relations once the Palestine issue was resolved.