Dr Mike Evans

Israel’s first ambassador to Bahrain begins historic role

Israel’s first envoy to Bahrain, Eitan Na’eh, landed in the capital of Manama on Monday to begin work. The two nations have moved forward on several new efforts following the signing of the Abraham Accords in 2020 in Washington.

His Bahraini counterpart, Khaled al-Jalahma, began his ambassadorship to Israel in September, which also marked the Accords’ one-year anniversary. Since then, Morocco and Sudan have joined. The Accords are the first major normalization agreement between Israel and other nations in the Middle East in more than 25 years, since the peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan.

Na’eh previously served as Israel’s envoy to the United Arab Emirates and Turkey from 2016 to 2018. He takes up his new role following a recent visit to Bahrain by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid to inaugurate Israel’s embassy in Manama. The visit was also marked by the first commercial flight from Manama to Tel Aviv.

In a Twitter post regarding the trip, Lapid wrote, “The global struggle today isn’t between right and left, or between Judaism and Islam or Christianity. The global struggle today is between moderates and extremists. Between a culture of life and a culture of death and destruction.”

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also met with Bahraini Crown Prince Al Khalifa during their visit to Glasgow for the COP26 climate change summit.

Bahrain also participated in a joint naval exercise in November with the UAE and US in the Red Sea, as part of its preparations to counter potential threats from Iran. It was the first public demonstration of military cooperation between signatories of the Abraham Accords.

Israel has signed two important agreements with the UAE over the past several months: in September, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid inked a group of partnership agreements for future collaborative ventures in healthcare and sports; in October, Israel concluded a pact granting mutual recognition of their respective COVID health passes.

The cooperation between the two nations continues to grow as a positive sign of the peaceful efforts taking place among countries in the Middle East.