Saudi Arabia is not high on the list of Jewish travel destinations.
There has been no organized Jewish activity in the country for 70 years.
The oasis made Khaybar a regular stop along the incense trade route from Yemen to the Levant, which is why it was the home of the Jewish community at the time.
2) There’s also the Khaybar Fortress, perched on a hill overlooking the oasis, which is at least 1,400 years old.
Hejaz makes up most of the western part of modern-day Saudi Arabia and is centered on the two holiest Muslim cities, Mecca and Medina.
The medieval Jewish traveler, Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela in Spain, during an 1165-1173 trek to the Holy Land, made his way to the far-flung Jewish communities that are now in the geographic area of Saudi Arabia.
He cataloged his trip, describing the places he visited and the people he met and providing a demographic rundown of Jews in every town and country.
Tayma and Khaybar, where he visited, are two oases that became populated communities because they were along a key land route between the Red Sea coast of the Arabian Peninsula and the Nile Valley. Anwar Eshki (center, in striped tie) and other members of his delegation, meeting with Israeli Knesset members and others during a visit to Israel on July 22, 2016 (via twitter) Historical sites pertaining to the ancient Jewish experience still exist.
With the Saudis just possibly warming their ties to Israel — ex-Saudi general Anwar Eshki, who led the recent delegation to Israel, also met publicly in the US last year with Foreign Ministry chief Dore Gold — the day may be drawing near when these locales will be more accessible.These are five top Jewish spots in Saudi Arabia, to savor online for now, and just maybe up close in the near future: 1) Khaybar is situated in a valley with natural wells that have irrigated the area since ancient times, aiding in the growth of dates known throughout the country.Yet 3,000 years ago, around the time of the First Temple, there was a strong, vibrant Jewish community in the area of what is today Saudi Arabia.And in the sixth and seventh centuries, there was a considerable Jewish population in Hejaz, mostly around Medina, Khaybar and Tayma.Even though a Saudi delegation visited Israel last month, anyone with an Israeli passport is banned from entering the country, as the two countries don’t have diplomatic relations.As of 2014, Jews are now apparently, unofficially, allowed to work there, though not to hold prayer services.