From Maureen Dowd's latest op-ed in the New York Times:
"The religious institutions in Israel are stymieing every effort at peace," said the prince, wearing a black-and-gold robe and tinted glasses."and
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.)
Neither Prince Saud al-Faisal nor Maureen Dowd seem to have a clue about Israel. Jewish religious institutions in Israel have very little if anything to do with the lack of progress in the peace process. The morning blessing to which Dowd refers is said by nearly all men who pray at Orthodox synagogues; it is not evidence of any kind of recent trend in Israel. The only factor making Israel "less secular" is demographic. I don't think it's accurate to say that the chief rabbinate wants to impose ultra-Orthodox Judaism on Israeli society. It is more concerned with keeping ultra-Orthodox rabbis in control of religious institutions. And that, again, is completely unrelated to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It seems like the Saudi prince is projecting. He, like many Muslims today, views Israel primarily in religious terms as a challenge to Islam.