The President of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding has claimed that the six Gulf States are competing with each other over who will be first to establish diplomatic relations with Israel. “I believe we will soon see the official forming of relations with Bahrain, and the rest will follow,” Rabbi Marc Schneier told Yedioth Ahronoth, which pointed out that he has visited many palaces in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE over the past 15 years.
Schneier said that the Iranian threat has caused a change in attitude towards Israel. The Zionist state and the Gulf countries share an “existential threat from Iran,” he claimed.
According to the US-born rabbi, “The current Emir of Qatar and leaders in Saudi Arabia said that the combination of Gulf’s wealth and Israel’s high-tech knowledge could potentially transform the region into the most successful area in the world.”
He expects diplomatic relations developing between Israel and all six Gulf states as early as 2019. “If in the past it was argued that the Gulf states would be willing to establish official relations with Israel only after peace with the Palestinians is achieved, then today the leaders of these countries say that merely returning to the negotiating table will suffice.”
With the exception of Egypt and Jordan which have peace agreements with Israel, it is assumed that there are no formal diplomatic relations between Israel and the rest of the Arab countries. However, there has been an increase in the pace of normalisation with Israel, with a number of Arab countries hosting Israeli sports teams recently.