The Israeli government is in talks with Saudi Arabia to allow Hajj pilgrimage flights, Israeli Minister of Communications Ayoob Kara has said.

According to Bloomberg, Kara is looking to offer direct Tel Aviv Ben Gurion-Saudi Arabia flights to Muslim Israelis that, by virtue of their Israeli citizenship, are currently forced to trek 1,000 miles by bus to Makkah.

“Reality has changed,” he told Bloomberg in an interview. “This is a good time to make the request, and I’m working hard on it.”

According to Kara, pilgrims to Mecca should be able to fly non-stop from Tel Aviv, but the route being negotiated may stop-over in Jordan or another country. Also being discussed is the prospect of Saudi Arabia issuing temporary passports to Israeli pilgrims, instead of their having to rely on Jordan.

The Minister added that he has already spoken to government officials in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and other countries about the plan. However, while they’re “ready to do it", the matter is very sensitive and is still subject to negotiation.

Kara's comments come at a time when relations between the Jewish State and its Sunni Muslim neighbours are said to be improving given their common interests in fighting their common enemy, Shia-dominated Iran.

In July last year, retired Saudi General Anwar Eshki visited Israel where he met with the Director-General of Israel's Foreign Ministry, Dore Gold, as well as the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Major-General Yoav Mordechai. Given Saudi Arabia does not officially recognize Israel, permission for the visit could only have come from powers in the Saudi leadership.

As previously reported, prior to US President Donald Trump's visit to the Middle East in May this year, several Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reportedly pitched a proposal to Israel that would see Israeli carriers being granted overflight rights over Arab territories, among other benefits, should Benjamin Netanyahu's government agree to make a concerted effort to advance the peace process with the Palestinians.

At the time, The Wall Street Journal quoted a senior Arab official involved in the discussions as saying: "We no longer see Israel as an enemy, but a potential opportunity."