The visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu comes as Israel is ramping up ties with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, though Iran is also in the picture.

 The private jet that took off from Israel on Sunday and banked south towards Saudi Arabia may have had some important passengers on board, but no one is talking about it. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Mossad director Yossi Cohen reportedly met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman while U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was visiting the kingdom. Netanyahu was reluctant to admit his presence at the meeting, saying, “I never talked about these kinds of things, and I will not start now. I’m committed to strengthening Israel.”

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The visit by Netanyahu comes as Israel is ramping up ties with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Last week, Bahrain’s foreign minister made his first official visit to Israel, and Netanyahu is reportedly going to visit the UAE and Bahrain soon. Why the sudden flurry of activity, and why did the trip to Saudi Arabia need to be so secretive?

Joshua Krasna, an expert on strategic and political developments in the Arab world at the Moshe Dayan Center, as well as a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy Research Institute, told JNS that while the common denominator is the issue of stopping Iran’s path to nuclear weapons, other important issues remain at play here.

“The issue here is mostly the United States,” he said. “Both Netanyahu and MBS were key—and high-profile allies of [U.S. President Donald] Trump—and made it clear until very late in the game when they, not very convincingly, tried to adopt an air of ‘neutrality’ that they preferred his re-election.” Read more at JNS