Israel and Saudi Arabia have held a series of secret meetings over the past 18 months to discuss how to thwart Iran's threat to the region, a report on Bloomberg revealed.

The two countries are officially at war. However, they have common interests, chief among them preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

Bloomberg revealed that Dore Gold, the next director general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry and a confidante of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Anwar Majed Eshki, a retired Saudi general, both addressed the Washington think tank, the Council on Foreign Relations.

"Our standing today on this stage does not mean we have resolved all the differences that our countries have shared over the years," Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN, reportedly said, adding: "But our hope is we will be able to address them fully in the years ahead."

Gold has in the past been a severe critic of Saudi Arabia's financial connections with Islamist organisations, authoring a book, Hatred's Kingdom, on the subject.

One participant, Shimon Shapira, a retired Israeli general and an expert on the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, told Bloomberg: "We discovered we have the same problems and same challenges and some of the same answers."