Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud last week hosted Rabbi David Rosen in his formal residence, an unprecedented event in the kingdom’s history, reports The Times of Israel.
The meeting was the first between a Saudi king and a rabbi in modern history and the first inter-faith group hosted by King Salman. Rosen, a Jerusalem-based rabbi, was at the meeting as a member of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate’s Commission for Interreligious Dialogue (KAICIID).
“It was amazing. The experience was really something special,” Rosen told The Times of Israel this week. “And it was not just the meeting with the king. The most exciting thing was meeting young people and their sense of the transformation their country is undergoing.”
The invite comes a week after the Interior Ministry announced it would permit Israelis to visit Saudi Arabia, a first in Israel’s history. Some 30,000 Israeli pilgrims travel to Saudi Arabia every year for the Hajj and the Umrah.
Rosen told the Jerusalem Post that the kingdom was adopting a more open form of Islam.
“He invoked the historical and authentic character of Islam as the openness of Islam that was shut down in recent times by political factors,” said the rabbi.
“My visit does not create a new reality, but reflects a new reality, and it is testimony to a new openness in Saudi Arabia,” he added.
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