Israeli minister holds Succot prayer service in Saudi Arabia

Communications minister Shlomo Karhi held the service in his hotel


Israeli communications minister Shlomo Karhi has held a Succot prayer service with his delegation in Saudi Arabia.

Photos of the Orthodox morning service showed the group wearing traditional prayer shawls and holding an etrog alongside palm, myrtle and willow branches, part of a special rite for the festival.

The service, which took place in Karhi’s hotel in Riyadh on Tuesday, included three Jews who were in the Saudi capital but not part of Karhi’s delegation. 

The group also read from a small Torah scroll which was wrapped in a felt cover and had an embroidered inscription in English, Hebrew and Arabic which said: ‘The Jewish Congregation, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.’

“He had windows made facing Jerusalem, and three times a day he knelt down, prayed, and made confession to his God,” Karhi wrote on X/Twitter on Tuesday morning, quoting from the biblical Book of Daniel. 

“Daniel’s windows were opened toward Jerusalem for prayer, and here in Riyadh we merited to pray with windows opened toward Jerusalem. Happy holidays.”

Karhi is currently in Saudi Arabia as the head of the Israeli delegation for the Universal Postal Union’s 2023 Extraordinary Congress.

A spokesperson for the minister said he will deliver a speech at the conference that will focus on “progress and a bridge to peace.”

Karhi is the second Israeli minister to officially visit Saudi Arabia after tourism minister Haim Katz. 

The visits come as Israel and Saudi Arabia edge closer to an agreement to normalise relations that would mark a historic breakthrough for the Jewish state’s standing in the Middle East.

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