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The Israeli-Saudi date war

Saudi merchants claim that Israel is selling Saudi dates in Europe under an Israeli label, but Israeli growers dismiss the accusations, saying that the products could never be confused.
A man counts Saudi riyal during the Festival of Dates in Buraidah, north of Riyadh September 1, 2012. REUTERS/Fahad Shadeed (SAUDI ARABIA - Tags: FOOD SOCIETY) - RTR37D1Q

Israel and Saudi Arabia share many regional interests, including the war against Islamic extremism and preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. But it would be a mistake to think that these commonalities change the Saudi discourse on Israel.

About two months ago, a story ran in the Saudi media claiming that Israel “steals” dates grown in Saudi Arabia. According to the reporting, Israel obtains the dates by way of a third party and sells them in Europe under an Israeli label. This serious accusation has come from not only Saudi merchants but also a representative of the royal family, Prince Faisal bin Bandar Al-Saud, governor of the Al-Qassim region, one of the most important date-growing regions in the country.

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