Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett makes a historic visit to Bahrain

By traveling to Bahrain, Mr. Bennett achieved a victory rejected by his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, who struck original deals with countries like Bahrain. Netanyahu reluctantly canceled three visits to the UAE and Bahrain last winter, partly due to pandemic-related issues and partly because UAE leaders did not want to get bogged down in his re-election campaign.

Mr. Bennett’s meeting builds on the steady progress since 2020 in Israeli-Bahraini relations, both at the state and civilian levels.

The visit follows a visit by Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz earlier this month to Manama, which formalized the security cooperation between the two countries. Israel and Bahrain also participated in a joint naval exercise with the United States and the UAE.

The value of bilateral trade between Israel and Bahrain since 2020 has risen from nothing in the first six months of 2020 to $300,000 in the first half of 2021, according to the data. quotes In September by an Israeli official.

Israeli and Bahraini banks also entered into partnership agreements, and their respective water boards agreed to share expertise and technology.

Bahrain has not used its strong ties with Israel to make overt concessions to the Palestinians.

Many Palestinians feel betrayed by the increasingly close ties between Israel and the Gulf states, while opinion polls have shown that a majority of Arabs in the Middle East oppose the diplomatic thaw.

Mira Novik contributed to this report.

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