Dr Mike Evans

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett makes unannounced visit to Abu Dhabi

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett traveled to Abu Dhabi on Thursday in an unannounced visit with United Arab Emirates President Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan.

The two leaders are expected to discuss issues related to Iran, Iranian proxy groups, the Abraham Accords and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Bennett also plans to express condolences regarding the recent death of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed in May at the age of 73.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog also recently visited the UAE in May to express his condolences following the death of the nation’s leader.

The meeting also comes following a censure of Iran on Wednesday by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Concerns included Iran refusing to disclose parts of its nuclear program and even reports of Iran turning off watchdog cameras.

The move by Western nations was welcomed by Saudi Arabia as well. Bennett likely hopes to expand the coalition of nations opposing Iran’s nuclear efforts during his meetings in Abu Dhabi.

The UAE also served as one of the original member nations of the Abraham Accords signed in 2020 in Washington, D.C. The accords have led to many new partnerships between the nations, allowing increased travel, trade and economic opportunities.

In the year following the signing of the accords, $1.15 billion in trade occurred between Israel and the UAE in 2021, a 511% increase from the previous year, according to the Abraham Accords Peace Institute.

Efforts have also included opening embassies, new ambassadors and hopes for a more secure Middle East as the nations work together against rogue adversaries such as Iran.