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Arabic press review: Saudi king receives Israeli rabbi for first time

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia bars Qatar from participating in a meeting on coronavirus, and Jordanians continue protesting against 'deal of the century'
A picture shared by the @IsraelArabic Twitter account shows Saudi King Salman receiving an inter-religious delegation on Thursday (Twitter)

Unprecedented event at Saudi royal palace

Saudi Arabia's King Salman received a delegation on Thursday from the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID Dialogue Centre) that included Israeli Rabbi David Rosen.

The announcement of the presence of an Israeli rabbi in the Saudi royal palace is an unprecedented event in the kingdom’s history.

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Though the event was covered by the official Saudi Press Agency, participants' names were not listed, with only pictures released.

The Israeli army's "Israel in Arabic" Twitter account celebrated the move, saying it came within the framework of "good efforts to build bridges of tolerance between different religions". 

Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said last month that Israelis are now permitted to travel to Saudi Arabia for business and religious purposes.

The statement gave the green light for Israelis to go to Saudi Arabia overtly for the first time since the establishment of Israel.

Qatar barred from GCC coronavirus meeting

Saudi authorities barred Qatari Health Minister Hanan al-Kuwari from attending a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) meeting on coronavirus on Wednesday, according to the London-based newspaper al-Araby al-Jadeed.

It was the first time Qatar was unable to have any participation at a Gulf, Arab or international meeting held in countries that imposed a siege on Doha. Riyadh and its allies blockaded the emirate in 2017. 

In a statement on Thursday, the Qatari foreign ministry expressed "its regret and denouncement of Saudi Arabia’s move not to grant the Qatari health minister an entry permit to attend the meeting that the General Secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council called for to deal with coronavirus, only after the start of the meeting." 

The ministry added that “Saudi Arabia has always claimed that the Gulf Cooperation Council system, especially the technical committees, is effective and not affected by the Gulf crisis, to be surprised later by the move. The Council has politicised a humanitarian sector that requires wisdom and the necessity to keep it away from political disputes”.

Jordanians still protesting 'deal of the century'

Jordanian activists renewed their protests against Donald Trump's Middle East plan, known as the "deal of the century," demonstrating for the fourth consecutive Friday, according to the Jordanian newspaper Al-Ghad.

The protesters marched on the US embassy in Amman, where a sit-in was hosted by the National Alliance to Fight the Deal of the Century, which includes a number of Jordanian parties, unions and popular groups.

Several Jordanian cities also witnessed similar protests against the controversial US project to address the Israel-Palestine conflict, which Jordan and the Palestinian Authority rejected.

* Arabic press review is a digest of reports that are not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye