Israelis joined Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia: Report

JERUSALEM (AA): A number of Israelis participated in the 2021 Dakar Rally car race in Saudi Arabia between Jan. 3 and 15, The Times of Israel reported on Sunday.

The newspaper said the Israelis entered Saudi Arabia despite “a ban on Israeli travelers to the Kingdom.” Two Israeli drivers Danny Pearl and Charly Gotlib entered the kingdom with their Israeli passports to represent Belgium in the race, while two other Israelis participated under the US-flagged CRV team.

Two more Israeli drivers took part under the Israeli DNA testing company known as MyHerritage and they were accompanied by Nirit Ofir, a research fellow at Ezri Center for Gulf Studies, who posted her photos on her Facebook account with a Saudi driver in the rally.

According to Israeli media, the Saudi authorities were aware of the Israeli presence in the event. There was no comment from the Saudi authorities on the claim. On Nov. 22, Israeli media reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had allegedly met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia.