Israel’s first ambassador to Bahrain arrives in Manama

Embassy says Eitan Na’eh is readying to begin ‘building bridges and strengthening ties’ with Gulf nation

Israeli Ambassador to Bahrain Eitan Na'eh aboard a plane to Manama, on November 29, 2021. (Twitter)
Israeli Ambassador to Bahrain Eitan Na'eh aboard a plane to Manama, on November 29, 2021. (Twitter)

Eitan Na’eh, Israel’s first-ever ambassador to Bahrain, arrived in Manama on Monday to begin heading the diplomatic mission established following last year’s normalization deal.

“Just landed in Manama,” Na’eh tweeted Monday evening, alongside photos of his travels to the Gulf nation.

The official account for Israel’s diplomatic mission to Bahrain tweeted earlier that Na’eh “is on his way to begin his important journey and mission of building bridges and strengthening ties between our nations.”

Na’eh most recently served as Israel’s envoy to the United Arab Emirates, until he was replaced by Israel’s first ambassador to the nation.

From 2016 to 2018, he 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.

In late September, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid visited Manama to officially inaugurate Israel’s embassy in the capital of Bahrain.

“May our people live in peace and prosperity forever,” Lapid said during the inauguration. He added in Hebrew: “Israel made a major, historic step today in the Gulf.”

During his trip, Lapid also met with Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa at the royal palace — the first public meeting between the monarch and an Israeli official — as well as with Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the prime minister and crown prince.

The Bahraini ambassador to Israel took up his position in September, while Na’eh’s nomination was pending approval by the cabinet.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif al Zayani open Israel’s embassy in Manama, on September 30, 2021. (Shlomi Amsallem/GPO)

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett sat down with Bahraini Crown Prince Al Khalifa on the sidelines of the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow, the highest-level meeting between officials of the two countries since the Abraham Accords.

“Everything we see from Bahrain sends such a warm message of friendship,” Bennett told Khalifa as they shook hands.

A week later, the navies of Israel, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain launched a joint exercise in the Red Sea.

Though Israel has conducted exercises alongside the UAE in the past, the drill represented the first-ever public military cooperation between Israel and Bahrain.

Lazar Berman and Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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