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Eitan Na’eh tapped to be first ambassador to Bahrain

Announcement comes as Bahraini envoy to Israel Khaled Yousef al-Jalahmah presents credentials at Knesset

Amy Spiro is a reporter and writer with The Times of Israel.

Israel's ambassador to the UAE, Eitan Na'eh, left, talks with an Emirati official during the Global Investment Forum in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on June 2, 2021. (AP/Kamran Jebreili)
Israel's ambassador to the UAE, Eitan Na'eh, left, talks with an Emirati official during the Global Investment Forum in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on June 2, 2021. (AP/Kamran Jebreili)

Diplomat Eitan Na’eh was nominated on Thursday as Israel’s first ambassador to Bahrain, the same day that Bahrain’s new envoy to Israel presented his credentials to Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.

Na’eh was Israel’s first diplomat to take up office in the United Arab Emirates following its normalization deal with Israel, serving as chargé d’affairs of the Israeli Embassy in Abu Dhabi, a position he has held since January. In July, Lapid announced his intention to nominate Amir Hayek as Israel’s permanent ambassador to the UAE.

From 2016-2018, Na’eh served as Israel’s envoy to Turkey, until he was expelled by Ankara in protest of the deaths of dozens of Palestinians during violent clashes with Israeli forces on the border with the Gaza Strip.

Na’eh’s nomination as ambassador to Bahrain will require approval by the full cabinet.

Also on Thursday, Khaled Yousef al-Jalahmah, Bahrain’s first ambassador to Israel, met with Lapid in the Knesset and presented him with a copy of his diplomatic credentials.

“The opening of the Kingdom of Bahrain’s embassy in Israel is another step towards true peace in the Middle East,” said Lapid in a statement following the meeting. “Many countries in the region see the strong ties that are being forged between us and the Bahrainis, as well as the brave decision made by the King of Bahrain, his majesty Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, to establish peace with Israel. In the future, other countries that are changing the face of the Middle East will too join the circle of peace.”

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid meets with Bahrain Ambassador to Israel Khaled Yousef al-Jalahmah in the Knesset on September 2, 2021. (Elad Gutman)

Lapid said he hopes to “visit Bahrain soon and inaugurate the Israeli embassy in Manama.” The foreign minister is expected to travel sometime later this month in order to open the embassy there, following the normalization of ties between the nations one year ago.

The Foreign Ministry announced a series of other nominations of career diplomats on Thursday, including: Michael Lotem as ambassador to Kenya, Dov Segev-Steinberg to Myanmar, Michael Freeman to Nigeria and Tammy Ben-Haim as the consul-general in Bangalore.

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