he announcement that Egypt transferred two small Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabian sovereignty drew protests from Egyptians this week, but in Israel it quietly shed light on the Jewish state’s secret and selective dealings with Saudi Arabia.
The two countries have no formal ties, but there have been hints of quiet cooperation — or at least a strategic dialogue — over certain issues such as Iranian influence in the region.
As analysts pondered the implications for Israel of Saudi control of the two islands — at the entrance to the Gulf of Aqaba, an important shipping route for Israelis and Jordanians — Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon told Israeli reporters that he had received official documentation that Saudi Arabia would continue to allow Israelis freedom of passage in the area.
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