11:56 GMT +316 December 2017
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    Yuval Steinitz, Israel's minister for strategic affairs

    Israeli Minister Recognizes Israel's Secret Ties With 'Many' Arab States

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    Israeli Minister of Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz has recognized the existence of secret ties between Israel and "many" Muslim and Arab states, including Saudi Arabia.

    TEL AVIV (Sputnik) — Israeli authorities perceive Saudi Arabia as the central link in the bloc of moderate Middle Eastern nations, which deter the spread of radical Islam and the growth of Iran's influence in the region. Tel Aviv is seeking rapprochement with Riyadh on the basis of common interests and coinciding threats, despite the fact that the two states have no diplomatic relations and that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is far from being resolved.

    "Contacts with the moderate Arab world, including with Saudi Arabia, help us deter Iran… We have ties, which are partially secret, with many Muslim and Arab states… As a rule, the opposite side is interested in keeping these ties in secret," Steinitz told Israeli Army Radio in an interview published on Sunday.

    Earlier this week, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot told Saudi online newspaper Elaph that Israel was ready to share intelligence with Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia. The IDF chief of staff said that US President Donald Trump's harsh stance on Iran allowed for a new chance to build a regional alliance of Arab states and to develop a strategy to stop Iran's expansion.

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    ties, Yuval Steinitz, Saudi Arabia, Israel
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