Bahrain appoints ambassador to Israel following 2020 Abraham Accords

Khaled Yousif Al-Jalahma named as envoy; Israel says arrangements to be made ‘in the coming weeks,’ though embassy location remains unclear

Khaled Yousif Al-Jalahma. (Bahrain Foreign Ministry)
Khaled Yousif Al-Jalahma. (Bahrain Foreign Ministry)

Bahrain and Israel announced on Tuesday the appointment of the first ambassador from Manama to the Jewish state, Khaled Yousif Al-Jalahma.

The official Bahrain News Agency released a statement naming the new ambassador.

Israel said al-Jalahma was approved after the Bahraini foreign minister, Abdullatif al-Zayani, floated his name on Sunday in a conversation with his Israeli counterpart, Gabi Ashkenazi, and “relevant checks were made.”

“The decision of the Bahraini government to appoint an ambassador to Israel is another important step in the implementation of the peace agreement between and of the strengthening of ties between the two countries,” Ashkenazi told al-Zayani,  the Israeli statement read.

FM Ashkenazi, right, welcomes Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, November 18, 2020 (Miri Shimonovich/MFA)

Ashkenazi welcomed the Bahraini decision and thanked his counterpart for their “strong friendship, as well as for the courage and leadership of the King of Bahrain.”

“In the coming weeks, a team from Bahrain will arrive in Israel to make the necessary arrangements,” the statement added.

It was not immediately clear where the Bahraini embassy would be located.

The designated ambassador had been the director of operations of the Bahraini Foreign Ministry since 2017 and had served as Bahrain’s deputy ambassador to the United States between 2009 and 2013, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had planned to travel to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain ahead of the March 23 elections in Israel, in what would have been his first official visit since the establishment of official diplomatic relations with the two countries last year.

The trip had at first been tentatively scheduled for early January, and then for later in that month, but appeared to be pushed off by COVID-related considerations, and a disagreement with Jordan over the premier crossing its airspace.

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