Sultan Qaboos of Oman is laid to rest in Muscat. EPA-EFE/Hamid AlQasimi
Middle East

Israel and the Sultan

Who was this leader, and why will Israel miss him more than most Arab countries?


Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said of Oman was a rare Arab leader who did not let prevailing anti-Israel trends sway him.

He was a 79-year-old man with no children and was considered to be the longest-ruling Arab leader in modern history. He rose to power in 1970 at the age of 29, the only child of his father, Sultan Said bin Taimur. With the help of the British, he deposed his father after attending the Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst.

He was known as a tolerant and peace-loving ruler who successfully mediated disputes between neighboring Arab countries. He refused to enter the Arab-Israeli conflict, nor would he get into the disputes between Iran and neighboring countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia. While the rest of the region squabbled and took sides, he maintained neutrality. 

He did not try to protect the Palestinians, nor enter the war against Israel. Instead, he engaged in long-term relationships with senior officials and even encouraged Israeli...