To say Saudi Arabia hates Israel would be a grand understatement.
The two nations have no diplomatic relations. Travelers can’t fly from one country to the other. Planes can’t even fly through the other’s airspace.
In order to travel from one nation to the other requires travelers to take what many call a “cleansing stop.” Often, flyers go to Amman, Jordan, or Cairo, Egypt, before heading on. And travelers who stop in Israel before heading to Saudi Arabia often ask Israeli officials not to stamp their passports (Saudis authorities get visibly unhappy when they see the stamp). Some frequent fliers even have an extra passport so they can keep one clear of the Israeli stamp.
That’s what makes President Trump’s itinerary so interesting. He made Saudi Arabia his first stop, which no doubt greatly pleased the Saudi royal family. Then he flew from Riyadh directly to Tel Aviv, which no doubt made them furious.
In fact, the flight may well have been the first in history from Saudi Arabia to Israel, the Associated Press reported.
“Saudi Arabia doesn’t recognize Israel and the two states don’t have diplomatic relations. There are no direct flights between the two countries and flights from either country bypass the other’s airspace. An Israel Airport Authority spokesman says that he was not aware of any direct flights ever having landed in Israel from the kingdom,” the AP said.
So Trump’s already made history. Chances are he’ll make a good bit more.