Mike Herzog
Mike HerzogIsraeli Embassy in Washington

Israel’s Ambassador to the US, Michael Herzog, said Thursday that it would be "very important for our region" if the US and Saudi Arabia were to "fix" their relationship, Axios reported.

"Saudi Arabia is a hugely important actor in our part of the world and in the Islamic world as a whole," Herzog was quoted as having said. "Strategically speaking, and I'm not ignoring all the difficulties, I think that is very important for our region" that relations improve.

Speaking at a breakfast briefing hosted by Al-Monitor, Herzog added that mending relations with Riyadh would be particularly crucial if the US plans to restore the Iran nuclear deal, which Israel and Saudi Arabia both oppose.

Herzog also said Israel hopes Saudi Arabia will join other Gulf countries in growing the Abraham Accords and normalizing relations with Israel, but said that will be difficult if the U.S. and Saudi Arabia haven't restored their relationship first.

He did not address a question from Axios as to whether he has personally lobbied U.S. officials on this issue.

US-Saudi relations have been rocky since the election of President Biden, who promised on the campaign trail to make the Kingdom a "pariah," and later released an intelligence report directly blaming Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Saudis have recently rebuffed US requests to increase their oil output, opting instead to stick to a production pact reached with Russia, noted Axios.

The Israeli government is concerned that the tensions between the Biden administration and Saudi Arabia will push the Saudis towards Russia and China and lead to less US engagement in the Gulf, which could embolden Iran.

Israel has been rumored to have ties with Saudi Arabia, but the Saudis have denied those rumors.

Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Saudi Crown Prince reportedly held a secret meeting last November in which they discussed the possibility of normalizing relations between their two countries.

Subsequent reports said the Crown Prince pulled back from a normalization deal with Israel largely because of the US election result. Riyadh denied the meeting had even taken place.

Saudi Arabian officials have repeatedly said that a Palestinian state with eastern Jerusalem as its capital is a prerequisite for Saudi Arabia normalizing ties with Israel.