Since Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (widely known as MBS) took over power after an operation in which he swept aside his dissidents and opponents, relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia have changed in a positive way. The crown prince has repeatedly signaled that the two countries may initiate a new page in their relations as certain goals of the two on the Middle East intersect. Therefore Israel has remained silent over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
It has been proven that the journalist was murdered inside the consulate. The journalist went missing at the beginning of this month. Saudi Arabia followed a policy of denial toward the allegations but, in the end, the Riyadh administration admitted that its officials were responsible for murdering the journalist. The international outrage has been increasing as several European countries have decided to revise their relations with Saudi Arabia while Germany made a call to suspend arms sales. Despite the fact that the crown prince and U.S. President Donald Trump have good relations, even the U.S. has decided to revoke the Saudi officials' visas. Yet, Israel remains insistently silent on an official level while many articles in Israeli media demonize Khashoggi and defend Saudi Arabia. Similarly Saud Arabia had remained silent against the U.S.' decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and when Israel killed hundreds of people in Gaza in the past months.
MBS is known for his soft stance toward Israel. The two countries, namely Israel and Saudi Arabia, consider Iran the biggest threat to themselves. Saudi Arabia believes Iran funds certain groups in Yemen as well as in Syria and Iraq while Israel claims Iran and its proxies or supporting groups, like Hezbollah, are existential threats to its soil. Israel and Saudi Arabia agree that Iran must be stopped and its power must be curbed at any price. It is noteworthy that Saudi Arabia considers Hamas as dangerous as Israel since it believes the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates are a direct threat to it. Similarly when Saudi Arabia forced Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign last year, Israel had made no comment criticizing the move. In sum the two countries have two common enemies: Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Khashoggi probably had nothing to do with Iran but he was not harsh against the Muslim Brotherhood. Moreover, he sympathized with Turkey. His comments against Israel's actions toward Palestinians were presented as anti-Semitism in some Israeli media outlets. Before Saudi Arabia admitted to the murder, the same Israeli media outlets criticized Turkey for not releasing enough evidence. However, the main reason for Israel's silence over the murder is that Israel understands that MBS's reactions are unpredictable and indefensible. Even so, the two countries continue to share common goals in the Middle East, especially when it comes to Iran and its proxies, and the Muslim Brotherhood or other groups like Hamas whose ideology is not essentially different.
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