Normalization from “Dakar Rally” with Israeli drivers sharing their photos in Saudi Arabia
The Occupation Army Radio revealed that 9 Israelis attended the 43rd Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia from January 3 – 15, 2020. They retunred back to Tel Aviv on Saturday, despite Saudi Arabia’s claim of officially banning Israelis from traveling to its lands.
The newspaper pointed out israeli drivers participated in this international sporting event hosted by Saudi Arabia for the second year in a row. The drivers Danny Pearl and Charlie Gottlieb of the “MY Heritage” team specialized in genetic testing, participated in the rally after using their Israeli passports to enter Saudi Arabia.
The “MY Heritage” team was also accompanied by a research fellow at the Esri Center for Gulf Studies at the University of Haifa, Neret Ophir, who posted pictures on her Facebook account with the Saudi driver Saleh Al-Saif, according to the Times of Israel.
The advisor to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Jay Maian, posted a video on his Twitter account saying “For the first time: a sports delegation from Israel in Saudi Arabia is participating in the Dakar Rally. A day for history! Sport for peace with the cousins.”
He also revealed the names of the Israeli crew members who arrived in Saudi Arabia using their Israeli passports, which included: Danny Pearl and Charlie Gottlieb, Aviv Kadshay, Yizhar Armoni and Maoz Felder.
Today, Sunday, the Hebrew “Calcalist” website quoted the Israeli player “Kadchai”, 58, saying: “Until the last moment, we did not know whether we would be able to compete,” adding, “They managed to transport us on a flight to Saudi Arabia, but we received visas only at Jeddah airport. “
“We met with Saudi Minister of Sports Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, but we received a clear message from the authorities through the race organizers not to place any flags on the cars or any signs referring to Israel,” Kadchai added.
Israel has long established secret relations with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, which have strengthened in recent years under the direction of the US administration during the Trump era to support normalization, thus resulting in normalization with UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, as well as Morocco and Sudan.
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