Over the past few months, reports have emerged indicating that Israel and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are working towards normalization. With U.S. mediators laying out a "roadmap to normalization," a formal announcement in the near future seems inevitable.
While the two nations have been coordinating behind the scenes for years, an official recognition of Israel by the Sunni monarchy would have major implications for the Mid-East region and beyond.
A multitude of camels will cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; All those from Sheba will come...
- Isaiah 60:6
How'd We Get Here?
In the fall of 2020, the winds of change were blowing through the Middle East. With the announcement of the trilateral Abraham Accords between Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain, the dynamic of the region shifted dramatically overnight.
In its seventy two years of existence, only two Arab nations had ever formally recognized Israel; Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994). Shortly after, Morocco and Sudan signed on, tripling the number of Arab nations that have full diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.
In the thickets of Arabia you must spend the night, O caravans of Dedanites.
- Isaiah 21:13
Although the announcement came as a surprise to most of the world, ties between Israel and the Gulf Arab states had slowly been warming over the past two decades. The reason? A mutually shared threat of a nuclear armed Iran.
Because the Islamic Republic threatens not only Israel, but the entire region, Iran has inadvertently pushed the Sunni Arab nations closer to the Jewish state. Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz recently announced the formation of a regional air defense alliance between Israel and several Arab states.
Why is normalization with Saudi Arabia a big deal? For one, the Saudis are custodians of the two holiest sites in Islam. By recognizing Israel, the "spokesman" of the Islamic world would effectively be giving up any remaining leverage in regards to the establishment of a Palestinian state.
In addition, the language of the Abraham Accords states that people of all faiths can worship at the Temple Mount/Al Aqsa compound (the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest site in Islam). Normalization would imply that Jews are free to worship on the Temple Mount.
All the kings of Arabia and the governors of the country brought gold and silver to Solomon.
- 2nd Chronicles 9:14
U.S. President Joe Biden is set to travel to both Israel and Saudi Arabia next week, with the purpose of strengthening ties between the two nations.
While a formal announcement regarding normalization is not expected during the trip, US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf stated there would be some "interesting things" happening soon. So in all likelihood, it won't be too much longer until a new day dawns on the Middle East.