Last week, Haaretz reporter Ben Samuels was the only Israeli journalist to fly with the White House press delegation from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – a first-of-its-kind historic flight between two countries that officially still don’t recognize one another.
Almost 30 years ago, David Makovsky, then Haaretz’s diplomatic correspondent, also visited Jeddah, accompanying U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher as part of the Oslo Accords-era flurry of Middle Eastern negotiations.
Two rare visits by Haaretz reporters to the most powerful country in the Arab world, and three decades of historical change in between them. On this week’s episode, Samuels and Makovsky join host Allison Kaplan Sommer to talk about their unique experiences writing for an Israeli newspaper from the kingdom.
Makovsky, today a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, shares why he is optimistic about Biden’s Middle East trip, even though the president did not “break ground” on the Palestinian or Iran issues. Samuels, our Washington correspondent, explains why the trip “marked the conscious uncoupling of Israel and the Palestinians in the eyes of U.S. policymakers.”
Listen to the full conversation to also hear what they see next for Biden’s Middle East policy.