Saudi Arabia is a model of enlightened liberalism while Israel is an extremist nation of religious zealots.
Don’t think so? Well, that’s the story Saudi Prince Saud al-Faisal tried to pitch Maureen Dowd of The New York Times.
Dowd, who is known (and occasionally loathed) for her pithy, withering takedowns of the powerful, didn’t quite buy it. But she didn’t quite belittle it, either. Here’s the one graph she devotes to Israel, before going on to report the prince’s claims about Saudi Arabia’s supposedly progressive — if "galactically glacial" — moves toward reform.
Israel is a secular society that some say is growing less secular with religious militants and the chief rabbinate that would like to impose a harsh and exclusive interpretation of Judaism upon the entire society. Ultra-Orthodox rabbis are fighting off the Jewish women who want to conduct their own prayer services at the Western Wall. (In Orthodox synagogues, some men still say a morning prayer thanking God for not making them women.)