TEL AVIV — Following a US senior delegation trip to Riyadh last week, multiple reports have suggested some progress in US efforts to rope Saudi Arabia into normalizing ties with Israel, but even optimistic Israeli officials know that prospects of such a move taking place under the hard-line Netanyahu coalition are slim at best.
Still, the more intriguing question is whether these prospects improve under a completely different Israeli government, for example, one led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but with centrist leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid replacing the ultranationalists in the current government? Such a scenario could go a long way to advancing the long-stalled normalization efforts.
The Biden administration would clearly welcome such a dramatic change in Israel, as expressed in private conversations by outgoing US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides and US special envoy to the Middle East, Ambassador Dan Shapiro. Both know that the current Israeli government bodes serious trouble for Israel and the region.
Would Netanyahu abandon the far right?