Bahrain’s first ambassador to Israel, Khaled Yousif al-Jalahma, arrived in Israel Tuesday afternoon to take up his post following last year’s agreement between the countries to normalize diplomatic ties.
A statement carried by the state-run Bahrain News Agency touted al-Jalahma’s arrival as “an important step in developing relations between the two countries and their people.”
Before touching down in Israel, the new ambassador put out a tweet in Hebrew, Arabic and English, saying, “The opportunity to fulfill His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s vision of peaceful coexistence with all nations is a privilege that I will hold in high regard.”
He later tweeted photos of himself and his wife landing at Ben Gurion Airport, saying they were both “very excited.”
A historic journey in the making accompanied by my wife. We are both very excited! pic.twitter.com/3qKstuNiZk
— Khaled Al Jalahma (@BahrainAmbIsr) August 31, 2021
Israel and Bahrain agreed in 2020 to establish diplomatic relations as part of the Abraham Accords, a United States-led initiative that has also seen the Jewish state normalize ties with the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Morocco.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry also hailed the arrival in Israel of al-Jalahmah, saying that it “and the upcoming official opening of the Bahraini Embassy in Israel, mark an important step in developing the bilateral relations between the two countries and their peoples.”
Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Haiat added in a statement: “The Bahraini Embassy in Israel, as well as the Israeli Embassy in Bahrain, have a central role in the strengthening of the bilateral relations and serve as yet another milestone of the vision of the peace accords signed in 2020.”
Israel signed off on al-Jalahma’s appointment in March. Al-Jalahma previously served as deputy ambassador to the US, among other senior posts in the Bahraini diplomatic service.
His arrival in Israel comes weeks after Bahrain’s Undersecretary for International Relations Sheikh Abdullah bin Ahmad al-Khalifa openly met an Israeli military commander in charge of Iranian matters while visiting Israel.
Khalifa met with Tal Kelman, head of the Strategic Division of the Israel Defense Forces’ Planning Directorate, and the IDF’s Arabic-language spokesperson Avichai Adraee on Tuesday tweeted a photograph of them shaking hands.
In the past, such meetings between senior Israeli and Arab officials had been largely kept away from public eyes. Its public nature was a further indication of the warming of ties between Israel and Bahrain, and their alignment against Tehran.