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>> Scenes like these have drawn surprise from the Arab world. First, Israel's Prime Minister popped up on an unannounced visit to Oman, followed by the state's sports minister touring Abu Dhabi's Grand Mosque. But scenes like these could become the norm, as Israel makes a diplomatic push in the Gulf.
Relationships that have been on the down low, are now being outed with photo ops. As Reuter's correspondent Jeffrey Heller explains from Jerusalem.>> Israel's Prime Minister had been hinting for a while now that the veil would be lifted soon over some of his country's secret ties with Gulf Arab States.
Israel regards Arab states in the Gulf as it's natural allies against regional powerhouse Iran. With Donald Trump and Netanyahu in virtual lockstep over a tougher policy towards Tehran, closer ties with Israel could be seen as Gulf Arab states, as a way to curry favor with Washington. As well as to boost long rumored cooperation with Israel's Mossad intelligence agency, whose director accompanied Netanyahu to Oman.
>> It's been over two decades since an Israel leader visited Oman, but relations with Gulf states have been improving behind the scenes for years. Brought together by a common enemy Iran, the Palestinian issue that's long divided them, has slipped down the agenda. For many Israelis the defining moment has come through Sports Minister Miri Regev in the United Arab Emirates.
She cried when an Israeli won gold in a Judo tournament. It meant the Israeli national anthem was played in a country that does not formally recognize it. The minister shared her mosque visit instantly on her Facebook page. She's the first Israeli official to sign the guest book. Israel has diplomatic relations with only two Arab states neighboring Egypt and Jordan.
These trips shining a rare spotlight on Israel's ties with Gulf states.