Israeli Foreign Minister Makes Historic Visit to Bahrain

Israel’s foreign minister arrived in Bahrain on Thursday, the first high-level visit to the small Gulf state by a senior Israeli official since signing a landmark agreement last year to build diplomatic ties.

Yair Lapid landed in the Bahraini capital Manama for a meeting with his Bahraini counterpart and to inaugurate the Israeli embassy. The visit was the first official visit by a member of the Israeli Cabinet.

After Lapid landed, Bahrain airline Gulf Air launched its first direct flight between Manama and Tel Aviv. The Israeli diplomatic delegation will meet with Bahraini officials and sign a number of agreements to further strengthen bilateral ties, including economic deals and cooperation between hospitals and water companies.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (center left) meets his Bahraini counterpart, Abdullatif bin Rashid Alzayani (center right), in Manama, Bahrain, Thursday, September 30, 2021. (Shlomi Amshalem/GPO via AP)

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (center left) meets his Bahraini counterpart, Abdullatif bin Rashid Alzayani (center right), in Manama, Bahrain, Thursday, September 30, 2021. (Shlomi Amshalem/GPO via AP)

The two countries have long maintained secret security ties due to a shared distrust of regional rival Iran, but it was only last year that the relationship was made public. Israel established formal diplomatic relations with four Arab countries last year as part of the US-brokered “Abraham Deal”.

Lapid has visited the United Arab Emirates and Morocco and opened Israeli diplomatic offices in both countries since he became Israel’s foreign minister in June. [lt/uh]

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