The warrior al-Sauds got religious legitimacy; the anhedonic Wahhabis got protection.To this day the Koran is the constitution of Saudi Arabia, and Wahhabism its dominant faith.
The site noted that visas would not be issued to an Israeli-passport holder, to anyone with an Israeli stamp on a passport, or, just in case things weren’t perfectly clear, to “Jewish people.” There were also “important instructions” for any woman coming to the kingdom on her own, advising that she would need a husband or a male sponsor to pick her up at the airport, and that she would not be allowed to drive a car unless “accompanied by her husband, a male relative, or a driver.” Needless to say, there would be no drinking allowed—Saudi officials even try to enforce no-drinking rules on private jets in Saudi airspace, sometimes sealing the liquor cabinets.
Finally, belying the fact that Arabs consider hospitality a sacred duty, there was the no-loitering kicker: “All visitors to the Kingdom must have a return ticket.” After New York congressman Anthony Weiner kicked up a fuss, the anti-Semitic language on the Web site was removed.
The news cut to the very character of the Saudi state.
Back in 1744, the oasis-dwelling al-Saud clan had made a pact with Mohammad bin Abdul Wahhab, founder of the Wahhabi sect, which took an especially strict approach to religious observance.
The royals doubled down on the deal when Islamic fundamentalists took over the Grand Mosque, in Mecca, in 1979.