Rabbi Marc Schneier of the Hampton Synagogue met with the Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister last week, and spent Shabbos in Riyadh.
Schneier is the founder of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, originally to rebuild the historic Black-Jewish alliance in the United States and for the past 15 years, to build Muslim-Jewish relations globally, and has met with many Gulf State leaders. In an interview with Ynet, Schneier said he predicts that Baharain will be the first to open diplomatic ties with israel, and the rest will follow.
While foreigners of other religions can worship privately in Saudi Arabia, there are no public churches, temples or synagogues. Importing crosses and other non-Islamic religious imagery – including the six-pointed Star of David – is banned, according to the Saudi customs website.
In April 2018, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman met with three Rabbis while on a visit to NY. Prince Mohammed’s meeting included Rabbi Richard Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism; Rabbi Steven Wernick, head of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism; and Allen Fagin, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union.
That was not the first time a Saudi royal met with a rabbi; the late King Abdullah was photographed multiple times with Rabbi Marc Schneier who had been appointed to the Steering Committee of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s World Conference on Dialogue convened by King Abdullah.
— Rabbi Marc Schneier (@RabbiMSchneier) January 19, 2020
— Foreign Ministry 🇸🇦 (@KSAmofaEN) January 15, 2020