Why Trump’s flight from Saudi Arabia to Israel is such a big deal

Tuesday, 23 May 2017, 12:19:11 AM. At the least, it's the first time a president has made the journey.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu celebrated President Trump's flight from Saudi Arabia to Israel on May 22, saying "I hope that one day an Israeli prime minister will be able to fly from Tel Aviv to Riyadh." (The Washington Post) Early Monday, President Trump left Saudi Arabia and flew aboard Air Force One to Israel. It was a notable journey, and not just because it was part of Trump's first foreign trip as the U.S. commander in chief: His flight has been widely described as the first direct one between Saudi Arabia and Israel. On Twitter, deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders wrote that the flight was a “historic moment.” At the least, it was extremely unusual. Another historic moment on @POTUS first foreign trip. AF1 flies direct from Riyadh to Tel Aviv. #POTUSAbroad pic.twitter.com/3rol2R5miI — Sarah H. Sanders (@SHSanders45) May 22, 2017 Like other Muslim-majority nations, Saudi Arabia has no formal diplomatic relations with Israel because of the latter's ongoing conflict with the Palestinians. This has several practical consequences — most notoriously, Israeli passport holders are refused entry to many Muslim-majority nations except in special circumstances. In the past, Israeli Muslim citizens have been required to get a temporary Jordanian passport if they wanted to perform the hajj in Saudi Arabia's Mecca, for example. A number of Israeli journalists were denied visas to Saudi Arabia to report on Trump's trip. Orly Azoulay, Washington...Read more
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