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Sunday, November 27, 2022

Israeli leader makes historic visit to Bahrain

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett became the first state leader of Israel to make an official visit Bahrain on Monday.

Bennett landed in Bahrain’s capital city of Manama, marking the most significant visit since the two countries established relations roughly a year-and-a-half ago.

Israel officially established diplomatic relations with Bahrain in 2020, when former Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE signed an agreement with the island nation, along with the United Arab Emirates.

During his visit, Bennett will meet with Bahraini Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa.

In a statement provided to Reuters, Bennett’s office said, “The leaders will discuss additional ways to strengthen bilateral ties … especially the advancement of diplomatic and economic issues, with an emphasis on technology and innovation.”

Bennett’s visit to Bahrain is particularly significant, as the small country is largely considered to be a proxy of Saudi Arabia, which Israel does not have diplomatic relations with.

The Israeli leader told reporters that he hoped his two-day visit will be a “message of goodwill … and a shared stance against common threats.”

As Reuters noted, Bahrain hosted Israel’s defense minister earlier this month, and an Israeli military officer will be posted in Bahrain as part of an international coalition. These actions come as Israel has recently moved to enhance its cooperation with Gulf states.

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