Bahraini monarch Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa on Tuesday officially appointed the Gulf kingdom’s first ambassador to Israel, following last year’s agreement between the countries to normalize diplomatic ties.
Khaled Yousef al-Jalahmah will serve as Bahrain’s envoy to the State of Israel, official Bahraini state media reported.
“His Majesty, may God preserve him, congratulated Ambassador Khaled Youssef Al-Jalahma, and His Majesty expressed his lofty directives to the ambassador, wishing him success in promoting Bahrain’s noble message of peace and the values of tolerance and peaceful coexistence,” state media said.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry signed off on al-Jalahmah’s appointment in March. Al-Jalahmah previously served as deputy ambassador to the United States among other senior posts in the Bahraini diplomatic service.
Bahrain and Israel signed a normalization agreement last September as part of the Abraham Accords, an American-led initiative to normalize ties between Jerusalem and its Arab neighbors. The other Arab states to join the accords were the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Morocco.
Bahrain has yet to establish an embassy in Israel and no date has been set for al-Jalahma’s posting to the Jewish state. Israel already has an operating embassy in Manama, the Bahraini capital.
Tuesday’s announcement came after Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met with his Bahraini counterpart Abdullatif al-Zayani in Rome on Sunday for their first meeting since the new Israeli government was sworn in earlier this month.
“We spoke at length about the normalization process in the Middle East and about the need to expand it to further cooperation with additional countries,” Lapid said after the meeting. “The relationship between Israel and Bahrain is important and significant for the two countries and we will continue to strengthen and deepen it for the benefit of both nations.”
Lapid said the two also discussed “the challenges facing the Middle East, first among them Iran,” a regional foe of both Israel and Bahrain.