Saudi Arabia Claims No Problem Employing Jewish Workers, Only Israelis Are Banned
A source in Saudi Arabia’s labor ministry said the country “does not mind” hiring Jewish workers because it awards employment visas based on nationality and not religion, popular blog Elder of Ziyon reported on Tuesday.
“Saudi Arabia does not oppose dealing with any religion and this is clearly demonstrated in the King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue,” the source said, originally quoted by Saudi daily Al Watan on Tuesday. “For example, if a worker has the Yemeni nationality and the Jewish faith, he is allowed to work in the kingdom because the ministry does not look at religions, but at nationalities.”
Located in the Austrian capital of Vienna, the center claims to enable and encourage dialogue among different religions and cultures. It is “an independent and autonomous international organisation, free of political or economic influence,” according to its website.
The ministry’s website lists Judaism among the 10 religions whose practitioners can submit working applications in Saudi Arabia.
Shura Council Member Sadaqa Bin Yahya Fadhel affirmed that the decision to allow Jewish workers is “correct.”
“We Muslims do not have a problem with Jews or Christians,” he said, according to Elder of Ziyon. “Our major issue is with the Zionist Movement which exploits the Jewish faith to promote and serve its own agenda.”
The distinction between Jews and Zionists should always be made clear, he claimed, telling Al Watan, “We can deal with anyone from any religion, and the ministry is right as long as it does not deal with Israelis.”
“As a kingdom, we do welcome all religions, but we cannot accept Israelis because they are linked to Zionism, a colonialist movement that uses and takes advantage of the Jewish faith. Judaism has nothing to do with this movement,” he added.
However, earlier this year Saudi Arabia denied an entry visa to a Jewish-American journalist from The Jerusalem Post‘s who was planning to cover President Barack Obama’s visit to the country.
A Saudi tourism website in 2004 listed categories of people who could not visit the country and included Israeli passport holders or those with a passport containing an Israeli stamp. The website noted “those who don’t abide by the Saudi traditions concerning appearance and behaviours,” “those under the influence of alcohol” and “Jewish people.” The last stipulation was deleted after sparking outrage, Elder of Ziyon reported.