Saudi Arabia and Egypt have announced plans to build the King Salman Bridge, named after the current leader of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud.
The bridge will be an enormous project, 10-20 miles (16-32 km) long, depending on its position, providing a land connection between Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
The bridge is planned to cross the Strait of Tiran, at the same place where the prophet Moses is said to have parted the Red Sea, in order to bring his people out of slavery into the Promised Land.
Whether the bridge will actually ever be built remains to be seen. The construction project could badly affect tourism at the Sharm el-Sheikh resort on the Red Sea near the Strait of Tiran. Furthermore, environmentalists are complaining that the construction project would damage fragile sea life.
The Strait of Tiran has a more modern significance as well. For many years after Israel’s founding, the Suez Canal was closed to Israeli shipping, so ships carrying goods to Israel had to pass through the Strait of Tiran and travel up the Gulf of Aqaba to reach Egypt.
On May 23, 1967, Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel Nasser announced that the United Arab Republic would close the Strait of Tiran and Gulf of Aqaba to all ships flying Israel flags or carrying strategic materials. Israel had already warned that any such move would be considered an act of war, and the announcement did launch the 1967 Six-Day War between Egypt and Israel.