In Israel interview, Kuwaiti TV host stands by call for ties with Jewish state 

Source: In Israel interview, Kuwaiti TV host stands by call for ties with Jewish state | The Times of Israel

Fajr al-Saeed responds to death threats over her New Year’s tweets in favor of ‘normalization’ by appearing on Israeli evening news

Kuwaiti TV personality Fajr Al-Saeed in a video interview on Israel's Kan Channel 11 TV news following her new year's tweet calling on Arabs to normalize ties with Israel, January 8, 2019 (Screenshot, Kan)

Kuwaiti TV personality Fajr Al-Saeed in a video interview on Israel’s Kan Channel 11 TV news following her new year’s tweet calling on Arabs to normalize ties with Israel, January 8, 2019 (Screenshot, Kan)

A Kuwaiti media personality made a rare appearance on Israeli television on Tuesday and brushed off death threats that she received over tweets she made calling for normalization with the Jewish state.

“I didn’t suddenly establish normalization,” the controversial Fajr al-Saeed, 52, said in a video interview from Kuwait with Israel’s Kan public broadcaster. “It’s not like I arrived at Ben Gurion Airport and entered Israel and said to you, ‘Let’s go, I’m normalizing relations with you.’”

“I expressed a wish and a hope. You can take it or leave it, but it’s my personal opinion.”

The feisty founder of Kuwaiti satellite TV station Scope said she has never shied away from controversy.

Saeed, whose New Year’s tweets in Arabic and Hebrew called for Arab-Israeli ties and trade relations, said her opinion of Israel started to change after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.

“The turning point for me was the funeral of Rabin, when I saw world leaders present there,” she told Kan, saying that if an Arab leader had died at the same time only heads of state from the region would have attended and world leaders would have sufficed with condolence messages.

فجر السعيد 🇰🇼

@AlsaeedFajer

אני אוהד של מספרים בודדים, אני מצפה לשנה החדשה 2019. זהו אירוע שמח, אני רוצה לומר שאני תומך בנורמליזציה של היחסים עם מדינת ישראל והפתיחות המסחרית שלה, ואת ההשקעה של ההון הערבי להשקעה ותיירות. כיפת הסלע והכנסייה

“I received threats because of what I said about Israel, like any threat I get on the ideas I raise,” she said in the interview. “I’m used to getting threats — it’s not something new for me, nor for my opinions.

“I think that at this particular time especially, there is a possibility of greater acceptance of peace with Israel,” she said. “I’m only afraid of Allah, praise be to Him.”

Israel’s Foreign Ministry used the opportunity to tweet back in Arabic, praising Saeed’s courage to “change the landscape” and saying cooperation with Israel would bring benefits to the citizens of Arab countries.

Saeed’s show was once ordered off the air by the Kuwaiti government after she poked fun at government members. In 2010 Scope TV’s offices were trashed by an angry mob after her comedy show ridiculed Kuwait’s ruling family and religious leaders.

Kuwait maintains a hostile relationship with Israel. Unlike other Gulf states, Israelis are barred from entering Kuwait and foreigners having an Israeli stamp in their passport may be turned away.

In a 2017 meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly, Kuwait parliament speaker Marzouq Al Ghanim called the Israeli delegation “occupiers and murderers of children.”

Israel has been investing much effort in recent years in improving its ties with Arab and Muslim countries, including Chad, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in October made an unexpected visit to Oman, and Israeli ministers have in recent months made stops in other Gulf countries.

Earlier this month, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa defied Arab consensus and defended Australia’s recognition of West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. He also expressed support for Israel’s operation to expose and destroy attack tunnels the Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah has dug across the Israeli-Lebanese border.

Israel has also been among the stanchest international defenders of Saudi Arabia’s leadership in the case of the killing of a journalist inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. The warming of ties between Jerusalem and Riyadh, which has yet to become official, has been linked to the two countries’ common enemy, Iran.

 

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