Mohammed bin Salman
Mohammed bin SalmanReuters

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz on Tuesday named his son and heir Prince Mohammed bin Salman as the kingdom's prime minister and his second son Prince Khalid as defense minister, Reuters reported, citing a royal decree.

The reshuffle kept another son, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, as energy minister, said the royal decree, carried by state news agency SPA.

Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan and Investment Minister Khalid al-Falih remained unchanged, the decree said.

The Crown Prince, known as MBS, had been the defense minister and has been the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia.

Prince Khalid bin Salman, MBS's younger brother, previously served as deputy defense minister.

The Saudi Crown Prince has led a series of reforms in the Kingdom as recent years, and has pledged a return to moderate Islam.

Since he has been appointed to the role of Crown Prince, there has also been a shift in the Kingdom’s attitude towards Israel.

Earlier this year, the Crown Prince was asked about Israel and said, "We hope the problem between Israelis and Palestinians will be resolved. We do not see Israel as an enemy. We see it as a possible ally and there are many interests that can be realized together."

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.

Israel has been for years rumored to have behind-the-scenes ties with Saudi Arabia, but the Saudis have vehemently denied those rumors.

Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Saudi Crown Prince reportedly held a secret meeting in November of 2020 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.