PM met with Arab journalists in Jerusalem; Delegation to tour Israel, visit holy sites; Saudi attacked in Jerusalem, forced to leave Old City; Netanyahu: Israel is the irreplaceable power because there is no other power within the region without whose presence and activity here…

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with a group of Arab journalists who are currently touring Israel. A historical development as it is the first time Israel is hosting journalists from the neighboring states. The journalists are from Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates and have been in Israel since Sunday. They will tour Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Nazareth and met with Prime Minister Netanyahu on Tuesday in the nation’s capital. They are scheduled to visit Israel’s national Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem, as well as religious sites and hold meetings with members of Israel’s Parliament (the Knesset).

One of the journalists, a popular Saudi blogger, named Mohammed Saud, was attacked on Monday when he visited the Arab quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City. Saud was stoned, had a chair thrown at him and was spat on by Palestinian protestors who called him a Zionist, among other insults, many involving slurs, forcing him to evacuate the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. The events were filmed, and videos have been flooding the internet and social media.

Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the delegation during a press conference with US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. The two met on bilateral relations and future cooperation and addressed the press following. Specifically, on the historical significance of the Arab delegation in Israel, he stated Tuesday, “I just had a visit with a delegation of journalists from Arab countries. With the exception of one [Egypt], none of them have formal relations with us. They talk about how so many in the Arab world want to have peace with Israel, normalization with Israel [and] want to come to Israel. They’re not always free to express it, and there’s always opposition from those who want to take us back, but they expressed that desire.”

He told the delegation that if not for Israel, the region would collapse due to Islamic radicalism. He was quoted stating from Jerusalem, “But within the region… Israel is the irreplaceable power because there is no other power within the region without whose presence and activity here, I would say the region would collapse. Without Israel, without the things that we do and the things that we stand for and the things that we protect, I think the entire Middle East would collapse to the forces of Islamic radicalism, whether Shiite led by Iran or Sunni radicalism led by Daesh [ISIS].”